The Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) has set another amazing record by winning a statutory rape case for an eleven (11year) old girl in Monrovia.
AFFELL is a duly accredited nonpartisan association with national and international recognition of its mandate for the protection and promotion of women and children over the last 25 years, coupled with its active participation at the peace conference in Ghana, which brought final peace to Liberia.
Defendant Saleen Shaya was arrested by the Monrovia City Court on the 9th day of May A.D. 2018 and subsequently indicted by the Grand Jury for Montserrado County sitting in its August term of court.
According to the indictment, defendant Saleen Shaya sexually abused the victim (M.B.) by inserting his finger into her vagina. The document further said on Friday May 4, 2018 at about 10:00am in the Snapper Hill Community in Monrovia, the 54years old defendant convinced and coerced and carried the private prosecutrix or victim, promised to give her LS$500.00 for sex and carried her in the basement of the old Ducor Palace Hotel and sexually abused her.
The indictment says due to the severe pains the victim was experiencing, she started shouting and immediately, people came to her rescue at which time the defendant was arrested and admitted fingering the victim during police investigation.
Through the hard-earned efforts of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) under the UNDP Project, the female organization was able to work with state lawyers and the victim’s families in pursuing the case.
The state was represented by the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with AFELL present in court at all times during the hearing. Present in court were Atty. Rozetta Neese Baikpeh, Atty. Vivian Doe Neal, Atty. Lorpu W. Godfred and Atty. Joyce E. Tarpeh and joined by the Ministry of Justice that received the final judgment.
The defendant was represented by the office of the Public Defenders for Montserrado County and present in court was Cllr. T. Joseph B. Debblay and Atty. Edwina Edjerah Barchue who said they were in court to receive the final judgment and submit.
The defendant has committed statutory rape, a felony of the first degree punishable by life imprisonment. The crime Statutory rape is under the New Penal Law of the Republic of Liberia, section 14.70 (1) (a), (ii) (b).
Pending the trial in this case, the office of the Public defenders for Montserrado County informed the court that the defendant in the case confessed and would like to plea bargain with prosecution and the court. Upon receiving the information from the prosecution and defense counsels, the court on the 12th of September, A.D. 2019 ordered the office of the Probation Division of the Ministry of Justice to conduct pre-sentence investigation and file said report with the court on the 19th of September 2019 to guide the court in sentencing.
He has pleaded guilty to the commission of the crime and thereafter pleaded for mercy and he is therefore guilty to the commission of the crime of statutory rape in line with Subsection 16.4 and 5 of the Criminal Procedure law of Liberia.
Meanwhile, following tireless efforts from AFELL and partners, the child is now okay and has since been sent to a boarding school.