Judge overturns man’s sex conviction

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A man convicted of two sex offences against a schoolgirl has had his conviction overturned by the Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Ian Kawaley ruled the magistrate failed to explain why he did not doubt the victim’s story after he found one of three allegations was false.

But the man — who cannot be named for legal reasons — is still behind bars serving a ten-year sentence for a separate sexual offence involving another young girl.

Mr Justice Kawaley said: “Strong suspicion that the appellant may well in fact have committed the offences could not justify upholding these convictions in all the circumstances of the present case.

“The practical result is that the appellant remains in custody serving a sentence for other offences which is far longer than those which would likely have been imposed in the Magistrates’ Court in relation to the present charges.”

The man was charged with two counts of sexually touching a girl under the age of 16 and one count of intruding on the privacy of the same girl.

All three offences were alleged to have happened between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2012.

The victim was said to be ten years old when the first incident took place.

The two touching incidents were said to have taken place a few weeks apart, with the second taking place in a hotel pool.

But the court heard the pool had been drained before the girl claimed the incident happened.

Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo in January 2014 found the defendant not guilty of the incident in the pool, but guilty on the remaining two charges.

The man launched an appeal, but before it could be heard he was charged in Supreme Court with separate offences involving a seven-year-old girl.

He was later convicted of those offences and jailed for ten years in July 2014.

The appeal against the Magistrates’ Court convictions only returned to the courts this month.

Kamal Worrell, for the appellant, argued that once the magistrate found the incident in the pool could not have happened when it was alleged, doubt should have been raised about the truth of the other allegations.

He said: “Although the magistrate rightly acquitted the appellant of the second count on the information, he ought to have concluded that the testimony of the complainant on this point adversely and fatally affected her credibility generally so that the third count should likewise have been dismissed.”

Mr Justice Kawaley found it was unclear if the incidents took place when the Crown alleged, with the convictions being “unsupportable” and “unsafe”.

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