General News of Thu, 7 Dec 201754

My client will die in custody - Alleged rapist’s lawyer

Attempts by the lawyer for the 39-year-old Lebanese who is alleged to have raped his 19-year-old house help to get bail for his client failed when the Accra Central District Court remanded the accused.

A bail application by Mr Raphael Poku-Edusei, the lawyer for Rabih Haddad, was thrown out by the court on the basis that it lacked jurisdiction to grant bail.

Mr Edusei had made a passionate appeal for bail for his client, arguing that Haddad had a serious medical condition and would die if remanded in police custody.

According to counsel, Haddad had a serious heart condition and had once fainted in police custody.

“We risk trying a dead man. To confine him to a police cell means the next thing is a burial,’’ he said.

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No jurisdiction

But the court, presided over by Ms Arit Nsemoh, declined to admit Haddad to bail and rather advised his lawyer to apply for bail at the High Court.

“I do not have original jurisdiction, so apply for bail at the High Court,’’she said.

The presiding magistrate then remanded the accused into police custody and adjourned the case to December 19, 2017.

Present in court yesterday was a former Attorney-General, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, who watched briefly for the alleged victim.

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Facts

Per the facts, as presented by the prosecutor, Superintendent of Police Mr Kweku Bempah, the 19-year-old house help was employed by Haddad and his wife in November 2017.

Ever since the house help moved into the Haddad’s house, the prosecutor said, Haddad had been pestering her for sex.

According to Supt Bempah, on November 30, 2017, Haddad lured the house help into one of the bedrooms upstairs and “forcibly had sexual intercourse with her when his wife and other occupants of the house had gone out”.

He explained that on December 2, 2017, Haddad requested the house help to prepare coffee for him.

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“When she went to the kitchen to prepare the coffee, Haddad went to her and demanded to have sexual intercourse with her. She resisted and that infuriated Haddad, who slapped her and hit her on the neck.

“He then dragged her into the master bedroom, stripped her naked and forcibly had sex with her on the bed,’’ he said.

Supt Bempah said the house help reported her ordeal to a co-worker, who also gave the information out to the police.

The matter, he said, was subsequently reported to the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU), leading to Haddad’s arrest.

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