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Thursday, June 20, 2024

BUCHANAN MAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO STATUTORY RAPE; TRIAL DELAYED DUE TO HEALTH CONCERNS

Date:

GRAND BASSA, LIBERIA – Vitus Marcus, a resident of the Dark Forest Field community in Buchanan, has entered a not guilty plea to charges of statutory rape. The plea was made during his initial appearance at the second judicial circuit court in Grand Bassa County on Thursday, May 23, 2024.

Marcus stands accused of raping a minor, an act that reportedly resulted in severe bleeding. The charge, classified as a first-degree felony, carries the possibility of life imprisonment.

During the court session, Marcus’s defense counsel requested a postponement of the trial to the August term, arguing that Marcus was in a poor mental state following the recent death of his mother in Nigeria. Additionally, they cited his condition as a pressure patient as a further reason for delay.

However, the prosecution countered that the defendant’s personal circumstances in Nigeria were not sufficient grounds for postponing the trial, emphasizing the gravity of the crime and the need for timely justice.

Presiding Judge Cllr. Joe S. Barkon, after considering arguments from both the defense and the prosecution, denied the request for postponement. Nevertheless, Judge Barkon mandated a medical evaluation to assess Marcus’s health status. The examination, conducted by Physician Assistant Joseph Zondoe at the Liberian government hospital in Buchanan, confirmed Marcus’s condition as a pressure patient. Following medical treatment and stabilization, Marcus was deemed fit to continue with the trial.

Upon his return to court, Marcus was read the full indictment, detailing the allegations against him. He maintained his innocence, pleading not guilty to the charges. Consequently, Judge Barkon suspended the trial, scheduling its continuance for May 24, 2024.

The case has drawn significant attention within the Buchanan community, highlighting ongoing concerns about sexual violence and the judicial process in addressing such serious accusations. As the trial proceeds, it remains to be seen how the evidence will unfold and what the final verdict will be.

The outcome of this trial is of particular importance given the severe penalties associated with a first-degree felony charge in Liberia. The community and legal observers alike are keenly watching the proceedings, anticipating a resolution that balances justice for the alleged victim with the legal rights of the accused.

As the trial resumes, further developments are expected to shed light on the details of the case and the arguments presented by both the defense and the prosecution. The court’s handling of Marcus’s health condition and the legal arguments surrounding the case will be critical in determining the trial’s trajectory and ultimate outcome.

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Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet and a product of Smart Media Group Inc. Our website, smartnewsliberia.com, covers a broad spectrum of news content. For inquiries or information, you can reach us at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or email us at smartnewsliberia@gmail.com or info@smartnewsliberia.com.

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