A 50-year-old man has been sentenced to 3 years imprisonment before a customary court in Mundri West for defiling his 14-year-old daughter in 2021.
Last year in September, the police arrested Morson Bolo after he was accused of incest his teenage daughter.
The suspect slept with his daughter three times around August 18, 2021, according to a police report.
Charles Sebit Nicola, the Customary Court Acting Chief pointed out that the offender spent three months in jail pending trial because there was no judge in the county.
He says he sentenced Bolo for 3 years because he is very old.
“This person committed incest with his teenage daughter and he was supposed to be tried by the high Court, and since he has been waiting for three months because there was no judge his family decided to be tried in traditional court of paramount chief and we decided to sentence him to three years because he is advance in age.” Chief Charles told Eye Radio on Thursday.
Reacting to the verdict, the former Justice of the Court of Appeal, Justice Geri Raymundo, says the sentence of Morson Bolo is unlawful.
He says the Customary Court has no jurisdiction over criminal offenses.
“They only have the right to try criminal cases if it has been referred to them from the high court or county first grade court in our constitution,” Raymundo said.
“This court role is not provided clearly but it is there in the local government act 2009.
“The mandate of customary law is mentioned in the 2009 local government act, article 98 up to 104. So according to this, any judgment from the chief concerning criminal acts is considered null and void judgment.”
The Transitional Constitution of South Sudan recognizes the dual system of Customary Law and Statutory Law.
However, on Competences of Customary Law Courts, the Local Government of South Sudan 2009, Section 98 (2), stated that; “A Customary Law Court shall not have the competence to adjudicate on criminal cases except those criminal cases with a customary interface referred to it by competent Statutory Court.”
In March last year, Ms. Esther Ticere Eluzai, the undersecretary in the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare said one of the main challenges to the justice system remains the lack of harmony in the legal system.
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Published Tuesday, May 17, 2022
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