By Elkass Sannoh
A 35-year-old motor vehicle mechanic, Muctarr Jalloh, has been sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment by High Court Judge, Hon. Justice Manuela Harding, presiding over cases at the Sexual Offences Model Court in Freetown, on the 1st December 2021, for sexually penetrating a 13-year-old girl.
The convict, Muctarr Jalloh was arraigned before the court on a one count indictment of Sexual Penetration contrary to Section 19 of the Sexual Offences Act No. 12 of 2012.
According to the particulars of offence, the convict, Jalloh on the 19th day of September, 2019 at Freetown in the Western Area of the Republic of Sierra Leone, engaged in an act of sexual penetration with a child.
The Application for trial by Judge alone instead of Judge and Jury made by the State Prosecutor O.V Robin Mason Jr. at the start of the trial was granted by the Judge.
Pursuant to an Application by the State to invoke Section 65 of the Criminal Procedure Act No. 32 of 1965, the trial Judge admitted the depositions of the Magistrate Court in which Preliminary Investigations were conducted to be used at the Sexual Offences Model Court.
The first Prosecution Witness and child victim disclosed that the incident occurred on the 19th September 2019 at the time when Jalloh was their neighbour.
According to the Victim, she went to the accused’s room in search of water during which he grabbed and tied her mouth with a cloth and forcefully had sex with her.
The victim said she heard both her mother and Aunt calling her name but couldn’t respond because her mouth was tied. She added that the accused had wanted to hide her slippers, which was outside the room, when the Aunt saw him and alerted her Mother.
She said her mother later reported the matter to the police after she found out that the accused had tampered with her.
The medical report of the victim indicated that her hymen was completely ruptured and a copious whitish discharge seen on the victim’s vagina.
The Police Detective who investigated the matter tendered photos of the crime scene and the Voluntary Caution Statement (VCS) of the accused as well as the statement of the victim.
At the close of the Prosecution’s case, Jalloh denied the allegations and relied on the VCS made to the police and did not elect any witness to testify for him.
In the VCS, the convict said that the mother met him and the victim outside and claimed that he had penetrated her child.
In his allocutus, the convict pleaded for mercy as he wept from the dock.
In his plea in mitigation, Defence lawyer, Randy Bangura begged the judge to temper justice with mercy because his client is a first-time offender and has been remorseful of his action.
He added that the convict is also a father of an 8-year-old daughter and aging parents who are living in the provinces.
He said the convict cannot tell the status quo of his family after spending three years on remand at the Correctional Centre.
Delivering her judgment, Hon. Justice A.J. Harding stated that she took notice of the endorsed medical report which proved that the child was sexually penetrated and that there was a whitish discharge found in the private part of the child.
She stated that the evidence proved that the victim was found inside the bedroom of Jalloh crying, adding that the mother immediately checked and saw blood on her pants.
She said, “these issues are very strong corroborating evidence.”
The Judge said that the convict only cares for his child and not that of his neighbours which renders him unfit in the society.
Justice Harding sentenced Jalloh to fifteen years imprisonment and also ordered him to pay the sum of Le10 million Leones as compensation upon his release to the child as the said act might cause the victim childbearing complications and also psychological distress.
Courtesy of the Calabash 2021