A 14-year old victim of sexual penetration has informed the Court that she consented to have sex with the alleged offender.
She made this statement while she was testifying before Magistrate Binneh Kamara at the Siaka Stevens Street Magistrate Court in Freetown on Tuesday.
In her testimony before the Magistrate, the 14-year old girl, who is a Junior Secondary School pupil, said the alleged offender was her boyfriend. She said when she visited him in April 2016, the offender asked her to have sex with him. She said she willingly agreed to his request.
The offender is a 17-year old pupil and is charged with the offense of Sexual Penetration of a Child contrary to Section 19 of the Sexual Offences Act of 2012.
The section states: “A person who engages in an act of sexual penetration with a child commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding fifteen years”.
The Magistrate, prior to the adjournment of the matter, said that consent was not an excuse for the offender. He cited section 24 (3) of the same Act which states “Consent is not a defence to a charge under this section unless the defendant satisfies the court on the balance of probabilities that
(a) before the time of the act concerned, he or she had taken reasonable steps to find out whether the child concerned was of or over the age of 18; and
(b) At the time of the act concerned, he or she believed on reasonable grounds that the child was of or over the age of 18”.
Magistrate Kamara added that the victim was implicating the offender.
Although the defence counsel applied for bail, the Magistrate refused the application stating that he will consider bail on the next adjourned date. The matter was adjourned to 21st of February 2017.