African News

African accused of rape set free in London

12 December 2006 at 00:14 | 883 views

By Abu B. Shaw,with files from the Sun newspaper, London.

Anti-rape campaigners were horrified in the aftermath of a recent acquittal of an alleged serial rapist in London. An offence punishable by long term imprisonment was trivialized by the justice system in England and Wales by allowing the acuused to go scot free, critics believe.

The alleged rapist, an Ethiopian national, has walked free from a London court because he could not understand court proceedings simply because of his disability. He is deaf and mute, the court was told.

Emmanuel Etoundi, 41, was facing rape charges after alegedly committing five rapes which could have put him behind bars for many years but prosecutors were unable to produce any evidence to back their claims.

The Snaresbrook Crown Court in East London heard that the Ethiopian has very little knowledge of English and has never learned the sign language that could have enhanced proper communication with others.

“We take the view there can’t be a fair trial in this case,” Prosecutor Sandy Canavan said in court.

Presiding Judge William Kennedy said the alleged rapist also has learning difficulties and therefore he could practically be unable to give evidence.

Axing the trial without proper conviction of the accused was really shocking to the rape victims and their families. They could not believe the outcome of the case.

Anti-rape campaigners, equally flabbergasted over the court decision, have called for a review of the loophole in the law.

Outside court, a female family member of a rape victim blasted: “At least, other means of punishment should have been meted out to deter other deaf people taking the law for a ride. “This is political correctness gone mad,” she noted.