The Point (Banjul)

3 December 2012

Gambia: 25 Years for Rapist

One Modou Lamin Yerrajang, who was accused of raping a four-year-old girl, was on 30 November 2012 convicted and sentenced to serve 25 years imprison with hard labour.

The case was presided over by Justice Emmanuel Nkea of the Special Criminal Court in Banjul.

Delivering the judgement, the trial judge stated that the convicted person was charged with a single-count of rape, which he had denied.

Justice Nkea stated that the prosecution's case was that on 10 August 2011, at Kombo Sanyang Village, in the Kombo South District of the West Coast region, the convicted person had carnal knowledge of a four-year-old girl.

He said the essential ingredient of the offence of rape could be proven by direct or circumstantial evidence, adding that there was no eye witness in the case.

The judge added that the prosecution relied heavily on the confessional statement of the convicted person, further stating that the court could not rely on uncorroborated evidence to sustain a conviction.

He added that where the confessional statement was freely and voluntarily obtained it could be relied on and the corroborated evidence would help the court to attach weight to the confessional statement.

Still delivering the judgement, the judge added that the injuries on the private part of the victim had corroborated the medical statement, and he therefore hold that the convicted person had a carnal knowledge of the victim.

The prosecution had proven their case beyond all reasonable doubts, the judge said.

In plea of mitigating on behalf of the convicted person, the defence counsel from the Legal Aid told the court that the convicted person had been in detention since his day of arrest.

The convicted person is a 41-year-old man and the breadwinner of his family and the family of the victim as well, she said.

She then urged the court to tamper justice with mercy.

The trial judge, in passing his sentence, stated that rape was now rampant in the country, and the convicted person was far older than the victim.

He consequently convicted and sentenced him accordingly.

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