… Against 54-Yr.-Old Man
Lawyers under the banner of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) have won a statutory rape case for an 11-year-old girl (name withheld) in Monrovia.
On May 9, 2018, the Monrovia City Court arrested defendant Saleen Shaya, who was subsequently indicted by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County sitting in its August term of court, the release has said.
According to the indictment, defendant Saleen Shaya sexually abused the victim by inserting his finger into her private part.
The document further said that on Friday, May 4, 2018, at about 10:00 a.m. in the Snapper Hill Community in Monrovia, Shaya convinced and coerced the victim, promising to give her L$500 for sex. He then took her into the basement of the old Ducor Palace Hotel and sexually abused her.
The indictment said due to the severe pains the victim was experiencing, she started shouting. Immediately, people came to her rescue, and defendant Shaya was arrested, admitting during a police investigation that he had sexually abused the girl.
Through AFELL’s efforts. under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Project, the female lawyers have been working with state lawyers as well as the victim’s family in pursuing the case.
The state was represented by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), in collaboration with AFELL through attorneys Rozetta Neese Baikpeh, Vivian Doe Neal, Lorpu W. Godfred and Joyce E. Tarpeh. They were later joined by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) which received the final judgment.
The defendant was represented by the office of the Public Defender of Montserrado County, through Cllr. T. Joseph B. Debblay and Attorney Edwina Edjerah Barchue.
According to the court, the defendant committed statutory rape, a felony of the first degree and which is punishable by life imprisonment. The crime of statutory rape is under the New Penal Law of Liberia, section 14.70 (1) (a), (ii) (b).
Pending the trial, Montserrado County Public Defender informed the court that defendant Shaya confessed and would like to plea for mercy.
Upon receiving the information from the prosecution and defense counsels, the court on September 12, 2019, ordered the office of the Probation Division of the MoJ to conduct a pre-sentence investigation and file said report with the court on September 19, 2019, to guide the court in sentencing the defendant.
Meanwhile, the victim has regained her health and has since been sent to a boarding school.
In another development, AFELL called on the government to speedily investigate the fire disaster that took the lives of about 28 Liberian school children in the Red Light community on Wednesday, September 18, 2019.
AFELL President, Attorney Vivian Neal, described the event as a “big blow to the country and its people.”
Speaking at a memorial program for the victims held at the United Dawah Ummah Quranic Center in Paynesville, Atty. Neal said the government has a constitutional responsibility to protect lives and proprieties and, therefore, it must investigate what really caused the fire disaster.
According to her, AFELL eagerly awaits the government for the investigative report on the fire outbreak that took away the lives of those “innocent kids.”
AFFELL is a duly accredited nonpartisan association with national and international recognition of its mandate to protect and promote women’s and children’s legal interests over the last 25 years, coupled with its active participation at the peace conference in Ghana, which brought final peace to Liberia in 2003.