BY JENNIFER KUSAPA
THE case against a man accused of sexually abusing a girl under 15 years has been dismissed by the court due to prolonged delay.
Defence lawyer Frank Kama applied to have the case dismissed according to section 143(2) of the penal code (cap 26) to have the information filed on March 18, 2021 against the accused, on a charge of defilement of a girl between the age of 13 and 15 years of age, contrary to section 143(1) (a) of the penal code.
The accused was arrested and charged by police on or about March 4, 2010 for the offence of rape was alleged to have been committed in February 2010.
This is now well over 12 years ago and so delay is an issue in this case, Kama argues.
The accused was brought before the Magistrate on March 19, 2018 and his plea taken.
He entered a not guilty plea and was committed to the High Court on the same day.
Kama in his submission stated that the charge is stale and should not have been filed.
The matter should have been returned to the Magistrates Court once the decision to file a lesser charge had been preferred.
However, by the time decision had been made, time had also run out.
Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer in his decision said that there has been excessive and inordinate delay in having the amended information, which contained the charge of rape filed.
He said it is unfair and unjust to have a defective information to be allowed to hang over the head of this accused for the past one year and seven months before a decision is made to have him tried in the High Court for rape.
“The delay is simply unacceptable,” Sir Albert said.
“Secondly, the charge of rape initially raised in the Magistrates Court was not continued in the High Court after committal,” he added.
“Had the decision to charge him for defilement been made timely, he could have been dealt with promptly in the court below instead of having to wait so long to have this matter sorted out, 11 years later.
“The delay in having the correct information filed is unsatisfactory.
“I am satisfied the delay in progressing this case is unfair and unjust and it would not be right to allow the amended information to be re-instated after the decision had been made not to have him charged with rape on committal from the start. It is not only prejudicial to his defence but also amounts to an abuse of process.
“The information filed on March 18 2021 therefore should be dismissed, and the amended information filed October 5 2022 stayed permanently,” Sir Albert stated.
Public Prosecutor Letiara Pellie appeared for the crown while Frank Kama represents the accused in court.