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Appeal against sexual exploitation conviction dismissed

The Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a man found guilty of sexually touching a young boy

Ismaila Darrell, 36, was found guilty in Magistrates’ Court of sexually exploiting the child when the victim was under the age of ten.

He argued magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo should have found there was not enough evidence to convict.

But Puisne Judge Shade Subair Williams said the magistrate was right to accept the victim’s version.

Mrs Justice Subair Williams said: “The appellant’s suggestion that the child invented these grotesque acts of criminally deviant behaviour against him was simply far-fetched.”

Magistrates’ Court heard that the offence took place between 2016 and 2018 when the victim was between the ages of eight and ten and Darrell was in his early 30s.

It was said that the victim was friends with Darrell’s nephew, and had spent the night at the house where the family lived several times.

The boy – who cannot be named for legal reasons – said he initially slept upstairs in the house with his friend, but was later told to stay in Darrell’s room downstairs because he would wet the bed.

He said that Darrell had touched him several times when they shared a bed before the victim had a health class that discussed “good parts and bad parts”.

While the defendant referenced multiple occasions in which sexual touching took place, Darrell was only charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a young person.

Darrell denied that he had ever touched the child sexually, although he told the court that on two occasions he did awake to find the boy in his bed.

He told the court that he had never told or encouraged the child to stay in his room and was “irritated” to find him there.

Asked why the victim would lie, Darrell told the court: “He is lying on me – to please his parents.

“It makes sense him lying if he tells her [the Complainant’s mother] what she wants to know cause [because] he don’t want to see her stressed.”

Darrell’s mother meanwhile told the court she never instructed the victim to stay in Darrell’s room and scolded the boy when she found out he had slept there.

Mr Tokunbo found Darrell guilty of sexual exploitation this January, saying the child’s evidence had been clear and consistent despite his youth and extensive cross-examination.

But Darrell launched an appeal in the Supreme Court before he could be sentenced for the offence.

In a decision dated September 24, Mrs Subair Williams said that Mr Tokunbo was right to accept the victim as a witness of truth.

She also noted that there was broad evidence of goodwill between Darrell and the victim’s family before the offence came to light.

Mrs Subair Williams said: “Neither the parents nor the child had any appearance of motive to fabricate these allegations against the appellant.

“An improper motive to fabricate is often a go-to by the defence in order to mount doubt about the Crown’s otherwise proven case.

“However, here, no such improper motive was shown, leaving the Crown’s strong case intact.”

She said the suggestion the child lied to appease his mother was implausible, as was the defendant’s suggestion that the child left his friend on his own volition to sleep in Darrell’s bed.

Mrs Subair Williams added: “The magistrate was right to fully reject the appellant’s tale that he slept through the night without being aware of the complainant’s presence in his bed.

“Oddly, on the appellant’s evidence, the appellant omitted to query the complainant as to why he abandoned his friend’s company upstairs to sleep downstairs in his bed.”

She dismissed Darrell’s appeal and remitted the matter back to Magistrates’ Court for sentencing “on an expedited basis”.

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