By Binta A Bah
A 42-old-man accused of raping a 15-year-old girl after allegedly intoxicating and rendering her mentally incapacitated has accused police of demanding money from him in exchange to ‘loosen’ his case following his arrest in 2020.
The accused, Abdou Barrow from Banjul, made this allegation before Justice Bakre of the High Court in Banjul as he opens his defense on two charges of rape.
He is accused of engaging in a sexual act with the victim sometime in 2020. He denied the allegation.
Testifying, Barrow said when he was brought into the child protection unit one of the officers, one Ensa Bah, who took his statement, demanded D3,000 from him to help him get off the accusation against him but he refused the request, telling the officer that he did not commit the crime.
According to Barrow, his response did not go well with the officer who threatened to take him to court before forcing him to thumbprint a statement he did not make.
“When I told him I was ready to go to court, he brought a written statement asking me to thumbprint it, putting aside the first document. I then asked him to read the content of the document but he said that was none of my business. When I told him I will not thumbprint the document, he and the two other officers grabbed me by my shirt and held my hand, forcing me to thumbprint. He told me they still have the 1997 Constitution and Yayha Jammeh’s laws will still be applied,” the accused told the court.
Under cross-examination, Barrow denied the prosecution’s assertion that all he had said in court was fed to him. “All what I said in the court is the truth,” he maintained.
Meanwhile, the prosecutor’s request to recall the independent witness was denied by the judge. However, a trial within trial will be held when the case resumes in March to determine whether Barrow’s statement was obtained under duress.