“He Threatened to Kill Me With a Knife, Removed My Uniform and Sexually Abused Me” – Victim Testifies

A sixteen years old victim of rape has made a shocking revelation to the Sexual Offences Model Court in Freetown, which is presided over by Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Alhaji Momoh-Jah Stevens.

The prosecution witness No 1 who is the victim testifies that the accused, Abu Bakarr Sannoh, a 20 years old university student threatened to kill her with a knife and later forcefully removed her school uniform and sexually penetrated her.

She said she identified the accused as a neighbor, adding that she came across the accused when returning from school in the neighborhood when he forcefully dragged her into his room.

She continued that the accused removed her school uniform, pulled a knife, and threatened to kill her. She added that the accused later laid her on his bed and sexually penetrated her, leading to blood coming out of her vagina.

The girl said that went home and did not disclose to anyone what had earlier happened to her. She stated that her parents knew about the incident after they discovered a mobile phone communication between her and the accused.

While being cross-examined, the victim said that the knife used by the accused to threaten her was inside the room where she was sexually penetrated.

According to the second prosecution witness, the matter was reported to the police and was issued with a medical request form which was taken to the Rainbow Center, where the victim was examined and treated.

The Endorsed medical report was presented in court which proves that the vagina of the victim has been penetrated and the hymen completely raptured.

Abu Bakarr Sannoh, who was before the Court on one count of Sexual Penetration contrary to Section 19 of the Sexual Offences Act No. 12 of 2012 as repealed and replaced by Section 4(a)(iii) of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act No. 8 of 2019confessed that the allegation made against him of having penetrated his penis into the vagina of the victim is ‘true’.

The prosecution filed a trial by a judge-alone application instead of a Judge and Jury by Section 144(2) of the Criminal procedure Act No. 32 of 1965 as replaced and repealed by Section 3 of the Criminal Procedure (amendment) Act No. 11 of 1981.

Application for the accused to be tried by a judge alone instead of a Judge and Jury was granted by Justice Stevens, as a way to expedite fairness and justice. The accused had no witnesses and relied on the statement he made to the Police.

Giving his address, the presiding Judge said, “the Law in question is very simple as I see it. The Accused was in a relationship with the Victim. But according to the Sexual Offences Act 2012 as amended by the Sexual Offences Act of 2019, a Child is defined as a person who is under eighteen years of age. The Victim is Sixteen years old. The issue of consent before sex does not apply because the Victim is below eighteen Years, and the Accused can not even plead consent because of the age of the victim.”

Justice Stevens went on to say that on the issue of Confessional Statement, “I hold the legal position that once an accused has made such a statement without coercion, intimidation or threat of being suffered harm, the said Statement is admissible under the Laws of Sierra Leone.”

“I hold that the Accused is guilty of the offense indicted,” the Judge said, reiterating that, “I, therefore, found the Accused guilty for the Offence of Sexual Penetration contrary to Section 4(a)(iii) of the Sexual Offences Act 2019 as amended as the prosecution has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.”
In his allocution, the Accused asked for mercy.

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Justice Stevens sentenced, Abu Bakarr to ten years imprisonment for penetrating the vagina of a victim with his penis, who was sixteen years of age at the time the offense was committed.

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