The High Court has released a man who had been jailed for 15 years for defiling a minor after ruling she was “behaving like an adult”.
Omus Kiringi got back his freedom after the court ruled that the 16-year-old girl he had sex with “enjoyed the same way an adult would do until she got pregnant”.
High Court Judge Said Chitembwe ruled that it was difficult to ascertain whether the girl was of legal age to give herself to a man or if she was an adult.
The judge noted that the girl used to visit the accused at his house to have sex with him.
“The appellant should not spend 15 years in jail for his sexual engagement with prosecution witness one (PW1). PW1 engaged in sexual endeavours and was enjoying the exploration until she became pregnant,” the judge ruled.
“I find PW1 behaved in a manner likely to suggest she was an adult. There was no sexual assault.”
Kiringi was first arraigned before the magistrate’s court on accusations that between August and December 2011, he defiled the 16-year-old girl.
The girl was called to testify in support of the State’s case.
Her testimony was that she became pregnant out of the escapade but she did not tell him (the accused).
According to court records, the girl, a Class Six pupil at the time, would visit Kiringi after school.
Her teachers later found out that she was pregnant.
The girl testified that the relationship would have continued were it not for the pregnancy.
Her mother’s testimony in court was startling.
She told the court that there was no intention to have the man jailed, saying that when her daughter found out that she was pregnant, she decided to forgive Kiringi.
The court heard from the minor’s mother that it was the assistant chief who decided to have the matter reported to the police and brought to court.
A police officer who was called to testify also told the court that investigations revealed that the girl had sex several times with the man and that they used to meet at his shop.
Despite the evidence, the magistrate’s court slapped Kiringi with a 15-year jail sentence. He appealed, claiming that the age of the girl was not proved and that a DNA test was not taken to prove whether he was the one responsible for the pregnancy.
The High Court ruled that there was enough evidence to show that he was the culprit but it exonerated him from blame.
Justice Chitembwe noted: “There is no evidence that the appellant deceived the complainant or forcefully had sex with her. She enjoyed the relationship.”
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