A 13-year-old mentally-challenged juvenile who was allegedly defiled by a 29-year-old man of John Laing Compound last year failed to give her testimony before the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court.
But the Court put the accused on his defence after noting that a prima facie case had been established against him.
This is due to the fact that she has never been to a school of sign language and can only communicate home vocabulary.
In view of this, the prosecution has closed its case and the Court has found the accused with a case to answer and has since placed him on his defence.
In this matter, Peter Kombe, a machine operator, is charged with defilement of idiots or imbecile, contrary to the laws of Zambia.
It is alleged that Kombe, on unknown dates but between October 10, 2018, and October 11, 2018, in Lusaka, had unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl under the age of 16 years knowing she was an ‘idiot’.
It alleged that on the material day, Kombe had the victim to himself the whole night without consent, and allegedly defiled her.
And when the matter came up for continued trial before Magistrate Alice Walusiku, Wednesday, the victim was called to the stand to give her testimony on how she was allegedly defiled by Kombe.
However, when examined, a sign language expert Kim Kakoma observed that the victim was unable to communicate using the official sign language.
“I have examined the victim, my observation is that her language is deferred; meaning she communicates in the home vocabulary and that she has people who specifically understand her,” Kakoma said.
“I tried alternative ways of communicating to her, but it was not possible to understand each other because the language is strange to her.”
Magistrate Walusiku then said: “having observed that she’s unable to communicate, therefore, no evidence will be taken from the victim.”
At this point, the State said they were closing their prosecution case.
Thereafter, Magistrate Walusiku put the accused on his defence after noting that a prima facie case had been established against him.
Kombe then informed the Court that he would give sworn evidence and would call no witnesses.
The matter has since adjourned to January 24, 2019, for his defence as he remains remanded in custody.