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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Man, 51, jailed for life for raping foster daughter, 14

Man, 51, jailed for life for raping foster daughter, 14

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By Talibeh Hydara

A high court judge yesterday convicted and sentenced a 51-year-old man to life imprisonment for raping his 14-year-old foster daughter.

According to the particulars of offence, in 2018, man raped his foster daughter, who was 14 years old in Nema Kunku.

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In delivering her judgement, Justice Sainabou Wadda-Cisse said the prosecution called six witnesses and tendered exhibits while the accused testified but did not call any witness and that the prosecution led sufficient evidence to prove the guilt of the accused.

She stated that the foster daughter, a minor, gave evidence that the accused, whom she described as her father, has been having sex with her until she eventually got pregnant.

According to the judge, a doctor gave evidence that at the time that she examined the girl, she was 28 weeks pregnant which was confirmed by the medical paper presented by the prosecution.

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The judge further stated that in both his cautionary statement to the police and in his testimony in court, the accused admitted to have had sexual intercourse with the girl until she got pregnant. He also admitted that he was in a relationship with the girl, who was in Grade 4 at the time.

The judge said the evidence of the girl was corroborated by the testimony of the medical doctor, the medical report and the admission by the accused himself.

She noted that in his defence, the accused said the girl had consented to having sexual intercourse with him. But Justice Wadda-Cisse said being a 14-year-old, the girl “cannot form consent to have sex”.

She therefore found the accused guilty of rape.

In his plea of mitigation, the accused begged the court to temper justice with mercy as he is the breadwinner of his family. He stated that he has been taking care of the girl since 1994.

In response, State Counsel Muhammed Sowe argued that the court should impose the maximum penalty of life imprisonment. He argued that the girl is 14, and has been violated on many occasions by the accused and had her future stolen from her.

Mr Sowe argued that it is the responsibility of the court and the society to protect young and vulnerable girls such as the victim and that punishing the accused will send a clear signal to other perpetrators.

In passing the sentence, Justice Wadda-Cisse held that the accused used the young girl to satisfy his sexual desires and did not show remorse for his conduct and said it is appropriate that the maximum penalty of life in imprisonment be imposed by the court.

Counsel Kebba Baldeh of the National Agency for Legal Aid represented the accused.

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