Court Sentence LAJ to 10 Years Imprisonment

Court of Appeal Judge presiding over cases at the Sexual Offences Model Court, Hon. Justice Alhaji Momoh-Jah Stevens has on Friday sentenced Hassan Sesay popularly known as LAJ, Abu Bakarr Turay also known as Dente and Francis Pessima to ten years imprisonment for sexual penetration.

Accused persons, Francis Pessima and Hassan Sesay alias LAJ were convicted for sexual penetration after being jointly charged on a two count of Conspiracy and Sexual Penetration Contrary to Section 19 of the Sexual Offences Act No. 12 of 2021.

According to the particulars of offence, the accused persons on the 10th day of July 2019 at Freetown, in the Western Area of the Republic of Sierra Leone, conspired together to commit a felony to wit Sexual Penetration, and also engaged in an act of Sexual Penetration with the victim who was 8 years of age on the date of the allegation.

The Application for trial by judge alone was granted by the Honourable judge.

The Prosecution led in evidence the formal witness who issued the medical report form, cautioned the accused persons and charged them to court.
At the close of the Prosecution’s case, the accused persons relied on their sole denial statements made to the police.

Delivering his judgement, Honourable Justice Stevens said; “The Law is clear, this court has proven beyond reasonable doubt that the case of the prosecution has been proven beyond reasonable doubt and the accused persons are as guilty as charged. There’s no defence to the case of the prosecution.”

Both accused persons were convicted on both Counts and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment each; five years for each of the counts.
In another related matter, Abu Bakarr Turay alias ‘Dente’ was before the court on a one count indictment of Sexual Penetration Contrary to Section 19 of the Sexual Offences Act No. 12 of 2012.

The prosecution had alleged that the convict on the 19th day of January 2019 in Freetown, in the Western Area of the Republic of Sierra Leone engaged in an act of Sexual Penetration with a nine-year-old child.

Upon his arraignment before the Court, the accused pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The prosecution filed an Application for trial by Judge alone pursuant to Section 114(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act No. 32 of 1965 as repealed and replaced by Section 3 of the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act No. 11 of 1981.

In the absence of any objection by the Defence Counsel, the Hon. Judge granted the Application.

The Prosecution led in evidence four Witnesses in support of their case including Police investigator, DPC 14214 J.M Kamara and the alleged victim.
The victim who doubles as the Second Prosecution Witness, admitted to knowing the accused as a friend of her Uncle called Junior.

Led in evidence by Lawyer Musa Pious Sesay, the alleged victim told the Court that the accused suddenly met her around Ascension Town area and made approaches to her which she refused.

She said later the accused pursued her and forcefully held her even after the intervention of a certain man and a woman whom the victim didn’t know, passed by at intervals and pleaded on her behalf.

She stressed that the accused had claimed that she was his sister.

She went on to note that the accused took her to a corrugated building and placed clothes into her mouth and eyes and sexually penetrated her.
At the close of the Prosecution’s case, the accused relied on his voluntary caution statement he made to the police and raised the issue of Alibi.

Testifying for the accused, Defence Witness, Sulaiman Tarawally, a team mate of the accused of Eastern Tigers, told the Court that he was in the company of the accused on the date of the allegation.

In his ruling on the case of Alibi raised by Defence Lawyer, C. Taylor Younge, Hon. Justice Stevens said; “I hold that the defence of Alibi raised by the accused cannot hold because there are inconsistencies in the testimony of the Defence Witness and the accused.”

He added that the act of Sexual Penetration done by the accused on the victim was corroborated by the endorsed medical report of Fatmata Sullay Kamara and Kadiatu Sesay, the 3rd and 4th prosecution witnesses. Hon. Justice Stevens convicted the accused of sexual penetration. In his allocutus, the accused pleaded for mercy and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

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