Former minister jailed for 10 years for defiling nine year old
By Morris Dogga
A court in Juba has sentenced a forty nine year old government official to 10 years imprisonment for raping a 9 year old girl.
The man identified as John Deng Both was found guilty according to section 247 of the Penal Code Act 2008. According to Judge Mujahid Abdallah Akol Deng, a Judge at Gudele High Court.
“You are sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment from 21stof January 2018,” Judge Akol read out the verdict.
Mr. Deng, a former Health Minister in Fangak State, was also serving as the Chairperson of the Peace and Reconciliation Commission in the state level by the time he committed the crime.
The accused was found guilty of defilement and sentenced to ten years imprisonment without fine. He will serve his jail term in Juba Central Prison.
The lawyers presented medical evidence to the court that showed the plaintiff was defiled. According to the court, the accused took the girl to an abandoned house in Gudele suburb when she was going to fetch water.
He then gave the girl some money. The court had also confirmed that the convict was found with tissue paper and a bottle of oil which he used for defiling the nine year old.
The accused however has the right to appeal the case within 14 days.
One of the family members of the victim, Phillip Palet who is also a Member of Parliament said that the conviction would prove that the Judiciary in the country was still intact though the atmosphere could not allow the courts to work objectively.
The family revealed that the accused had been threatening them from pursuing the case in the court.
“I feel very happy that he was proven guilty and the kind of sentence he received is not bad. The rest will be deterred from committing the same crime,” Palet said.
Olymp Gadin, an aunt to the victim broke into tears after the court session. She said she was very happy that justice had been served.
“I am very happy with the ruling. A thousand congratulation for the justice in South Sudan,” she said.
Robert Badri, the managing partner of Badri & Associates, the lead private council to the complainant and the victim said it was very important that justice was served insisting that the question of the ten years was a right decision of the court.
“I am very happy. We opted for 14 years’ imprisonment and throughout the process we have been trying to ensure we get the maximum sentence,” he said.
He said they would be monitoring the accused closely to ensure that he served all his jail term in the custody.
Meanwhile, Reech Malual, the Executive Director for Screen of Rights and a legal consultant said the ruling was a good precedent particularly in the area of criminal procedure.
Malual said the ruling had shown that everyone in the country must face the same laws regardless of his or her position in the government.
He however encouraged other victims not to shy away from seeking justice and legal aid.
“Justice has been served and we want people to know that our justice system is reliable but only requires all of us to stand firm and make sure that justice is at our reach. Nobody is going to give you your right unless you come forward seeking for help,” Malual re-echoed.