By Lawrence T. Hoff
The 2nd Judicial Circuit Court Judge in Buchanan, Joe Barkon has found guilty a 58 year old man, James S. K Dukpo for kidnapping three days old baby, Eve Karngar.
In his verdict, he quoted the New Penal Code of Liberia, Chapter 14, Section 14.50(1) which says “a person is guilty of kidnapping if he unlawfully removed another person from his place of residence or business, or a substantial distance from the vicinity where he’s found, or if he unlawfully confines another for a substantial period in a place of location, with any of the following purposes: (a) to hold for reason or rewards (b) to use him as a shield of hostage (c) to hold him in a condition of involuntary servitude (d) to facilitate commission of any felony or flight thereafter (e) to inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim, or (f) to interfere with the performance of any governmental or political functions.”
Section 14.50(2) of the same law quoted above, says that kidnapping is a felony of the first degree unless the actor voluntarily releases the victim alive and in a safe place prior to trial, in which case it is a felony of the Second degree.
Cllr. Barkon further said the Principle witness (Rachel David) testimony is a direct evidence and not circumstantial, because it is based on her personal knowledge or observation of the situation accounting for the child being allegedly taken away by the Defendant, James S. K Dukpo and her testimony is not presumed neither inferred.
Besides, the prosecution fifth witness in person of Police Inspector Benedict Saylee also provided evidence in his testimony and said when the Team of Investigators arrived on the crime scene on March 17, 2020 it was established that when the news of the missing child was announced, all of the nurses ran from their presentation room to the ER in search of the child, and while that was ongoing, the investigation established that Rachel David told the Police that the same man who came and took away the child wrapped in a lapper came back to her and asked in the Bassa dialect how is the situation of the missing child and how were the people talking it, but she did not know his name, but assured the police that she could identify him and she identify him when the Police escorted her at the hospital as the man, James S. K Dukpo, a cleaner of the hospital was identified amongst many others by Rachel David.
He said the Inspector evidence and testimony also corroborated by the testimonies of other investigators who testified before the Court.
Judge Barkon also said that Defendant Dukpo stated in his testimony that he never worked in the Emergency Room (ER) before, stating that Rachel David told a big lie on him.
He explained that the day the child went missing he worked in the Operation Room (OR) and the hallway where he swept and mopped the floor.
It was in the ER where the child and the mother were on bed.
Cllr. Barkon said James Dukpo testimony was an effective defense of Alibi under our law and practice in this jurisdiction.
The doctrine of Alibi is defined as an effective defense in a criminal case, because of its character of proving the physical impossibility of a person being in more than one place at the same time, stressing that Dukpo did not prove is Alibi in the case.
The Judge added that from the evaluation of the facts and circumstances as narrated by the witnesses, shows that testimonies provided have not in any way proved or supported the defense of Alibi being invoked by the Defendant that he was not at the ER at the time to have committed the crime of kidnapping as charged against him.
The Court says to prove alibi, the Defendant is under obligation to provide convincing evidence before the jury and court after the state has provided evidence linking the defendant to the commission of the crime.
Judge Barkon added that prosecution proved its side with evidence beyond a reasonable doubt linking the Defendant to the commission of the crime of kidnapping.
Wherefore and View of the Foregoing facts and circumstances, and the laws applicable herein above, it is the final judgment of this Court that the Defendant James S. K Dukpo is GUILTY of the crime of kidnapping and his Criminal appearance bond is hereby set aside, and the Clerk of Court is ordered the Defendant incarcerated pending sentencing by this Court, Cllr. Barkon ruled.
He will be sentenced in five days.
It can be recalled three days old Eve Kangar mysteriously went missing March 16,2020 at the Liberian Agriculture Company (LAC) Hospital and is yet to be found.
The child and the mother Mary Barkon were referred to the hospital from Zondo Clinic after nurses at the clinic pronounced that the child was suffering of depression and needed advance treatment.