By Kemeseng Sanneh (KEXX)
Justice F. Achibonga of the Banjul High Court has acquitted and discharged Ismaila Ndong, who was standing trial on twenty (20) criminal charges.
He was acquitted after a successful ‘no case to answer’ submission.
Ndong, a taxi driver was charged with six (6) counts of rape, thirteen (13) counts of robbery and one (1) count of indecent assault. He denied all the charges and the prosecution were called upon by the court to open their case, but at the end of the case, Ndong made a ‘no case to answer’ submission with the claim that the prosecution, despite the numerous charges, failed to establish a case against him. He pleaded that his innocence was not shaken.
According to the prosecution’s case, Ndong engaged the girls in sexual acts intentionally and under coercive circumstances on different dates. The prosecution also alleged that he took valuables from the same girls/ladies such as mobile phones, cash, finger rings, wrist bangles, and other materials on different dates.
Justice Achibonga said the prosecution had failed to provide evidence linking Ndong to the alleged sexual act on the alleged victims. He pointed out that the prosecution failed to suggest, even remotely, that Ndong engaged in sexual acts with any of the victims. The Judge held that even the evidence of the alleged victims did not support the allegation that Ndong engaged them in a sexual act. Also, he held that the prosecution had failed to adduce any evidence to suggest that Ndong stole from the victims. He added that stealing is an essential ingredient in a charge of robbery. In short, the Judge held that the prosecution failed to prove the elements of the crimes alleged and therefore, the court would not call on Ndong to open his defence.