BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – A controversial rape case involving suspect Bayebah Jludoe of Grand Bassa’s first district will enter its second hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 27. It will take place at the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Upper Buchanan.
The case commenced last Tuesday, Nov. 19 with the 19-year-old victim appearing in court, alongside her legal team, headed by County Attorney Pato Jarba. The defense was also in court, represented by the county’s public defender, Atty. Aaron Kartee.
The case relates to a Feb. 24, 2019 incident in Gbargaye Town, Grand Bassa, where the suspect is believed to have entered the victim’s room at midnight through the window and forcibly penetrated her sexually with his penis. After this sexual encounter, the suspect then quickly exited the room as the victim shouted for help.
According to the victim, while she laid resting in her bed that night as her husband was away attending a wake-keeping in a nearby town, the suspect entered her room, quickly tore off her clothes, and forcibly had sex with her.
When she tried shouting for help, the defendant shoved clothes in her mouth to muffle her screams.
“When I started shouting, people started coming around,” she said. “While he was coming out through the door, he and the town chief met at the door. Then he ran back in the house and jumped through the window. The town chief told him that the thing he did is not good, then he said he knows his reason for which he did that to me.”
Upon taking the case to the police depot at Compound One, an arrest was made the following day, and the defendant was immediately forwarded to court in Buchanan.
The prosecution displayed the victim’s torn lappa – a cloth women wrap around their waste – a big brown towel used in the assault, and photographs of the torn, semen-stained underwear of the victim as evidence in open court.
The victim, who hardly spoke clear English, appeared in court on Nov. 19 wearing a yellow blouse and flowery skirt. She spoke through an interpreter.
Both the victim and the suspect knew each other, as they lived in the same community.
Defendant Jludoe has already spent about nine months at the Buchanan Central Prison. He was also present in court along with his lawyer. While appearing in court on Nov. 19, he seemed ill, and pled with the sheriffs to permit him to lie down on a bench or on the court’s floor.
Both lawyers agreed to the seriousness of the defendant’s poor health, and therefore submitted that the case be postponed until the defendant’s health improves.
The case will resume on Wednesday, Nov. 27, with the suspect taking the stand in his own defense.
On the first day of court, the case was witnessed by several local and national human rights groups, including representatives of the Independent National Human Rights Commission, and Women Rights Watch.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah