23 April 2013

Liberia: Serial Rapist Yet to Appear in Court - Case Filing, Jurisdiction Issues in Play

Monrovia — Jaafar Bashir, the Lebanese national charged by the Monrovia City Court with statutory rape, endangering the welfare and interfering with the custody of children will now be tried by the Rape Court.

The case of Defendant Bashir, who was officially charged by the court on Monday, was immediately transferred to Criminal Court "E" which is responsible for all rape cases after a brief argument before Stipendiary Magistrate Attorney Benjamin Darpoh.

In arguments entertained by the court lawyer representing the defendant, Atty. Mark John Siae told the court to accord the defendant continuance (time) in order to study the case.

Prosecution lawyer Prince Sieh objected to the submission made by the defense's lawyer and argued that since the crime allegedly committed by the defendant could not be heard by the instant court, there should be no continuance.

"Wherefore and in view of the foregoing, prosecution pray court that said case be forwarded to the appropriate court, which is court "E", and let the defendant be incarcerated at the Monrovia Central Prison until the case is called for hearing," prosecution lawyer Sieh argued.

Following the submission by the prosecution, the court, under the gavel of Atty. Benjamin Darpoh ruled that the statute does not allow any preliminary hearing before the court for such a case, therefore the continuance prayed by the defense be denied and the case forwarded to Criminal Court "E" with the defendant detained, pending trial.

According to a writ of arrest issued on defendant Jaafar Bashir, on February 5, 2013, up to the time of the defendant's arrest in Gardnersville-without any color of right knowingly with criminal intent, was in the alleged constant habit of inviting children as young as six years and above, having sexual intercourse with them at the same time videotaping the act at his residence and garage.

A video tape and laptop was retrieved to serve as Fruit of Crime (FOC).

The writ also indicated that the alleged act of the defendant, being criminal, intentional and wicked, is a gross violation of section 14.70 respective of the new penal law of Liberia.

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