27 C
City of Banjul
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

DAUGHTER TESTIFIES BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AGAINST FATHER ACCUSED OF MURDER, RAPE AND INCEST

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The teenager appeared at the high court in Banjul yesterday as the state’s first witness. However, she did not give evidence in an open courtroom. She testified in camera after the chief prosecutor argued that revealing her identity might affect her in the future. “We don’t want her identity to be revealed to the public. It is a sensitive case and if her identity is revealed by the press, it might be detrimental for her in the future,” Prosecutor Barkun said.

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The judge, Emmanuel Amadi granted his application for the case to be heard in camera even after the lawyer for the accused from the Legal Aid Agency opposed the application. Lawyer Katusabe Tom said the girl is of age and the chief prosecutor has not given enough reasons for the case to be held in camera. “One of the reasons we are opposing the application is that the girl is 19 years old. The director of public prosecution has not given enough reason why this matter should be heard in camera. He said it is the media that is his main concern. I urge this court to refuse his application because it is the fundamental right of the accused for the case to be heard in public,” he said.

However, Justice Amadi ruled in favour of the prosecutor. “The accused is charged with murder, rape and incest. It is a case that involves daughter and father and I think it would be decent for her evidence to be heard in camera. Other witnesses will be heard in public,” he said before he ordered people who are not in the case to leave the courtroom. The doors were shut and both the parties came out of the courtroom after an hour of hearing. The case was adjourned to tomorrow for the girl to continue her evidence.

The accused, 51, was arrested in March this year and arraigned before the same judge in June on three counts of murder, rape and incest.

The ‘local security man’ [name withheld] is accused of raping her daughter [name withheld] and then killing their newborn daughter by strangling the baby with his hands. He pleaded not guilty.

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