By Alagie Manneh
Solicitor General Cherno Marenah has told The Standard that the much talked about police report into the rape allegations against former foreign affairs official Melville Roberts is not conclusive and that the case can only be determined in court.
The Standard published the police report recently which explained in detail Melville’s alleged sex encounters.
However according to Marenah, the police report will not influence the progress of the case.
He told The Standard that the prerogative to prosecute any crimes lies squarely on the Ministry of Justice, and that the decision to put Roberts on trial transcends the police.
“We are not commenting on any so-called disparity between the police and the AG’s Chambers as far as this case is concerned. We want to be fair and give everyone an opportunity to be heard at the right forum [courthouse],” he elucidated Tuesday.
The SG said police reports, particularly in this case, can never be conclusive without the blessing of the AG’s Chambers.
At least four women accused Melville of sexually abusing them, but he denied any wrongdoing.
The issue has generated huge public interest and gripping media coverage but according to Marenah, the entire issue is just a storm in a teacup.
“It is the journalists who gripped this case and not the country. By the way, the way media is handling this case is not healthy for the alleged victims or the alleged perpetrator,” he stated.
Mr Roberts had earlier told The Standard that the rape charges against him were triggered by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
But the Solicitor General did not entertain those allegations. “The Ministry of Justice, which is an honourable institution, is not interested in polemics, especially with regard to Melville’s accusations. Let us allow due process to take course,” he concluded.
It is not clear how soon the state intends to formally proceed with the case to court, but the police PRO was earlier quoted as saying that “as soon as courts resume hearing, be assured this case will be heard.”
However, Melville is believed to have left the country.