90 hours of community service for immigrant who raped child in Joensuu Appeal overruled by court

AT LARGE The Court of appeals in Eastern Finland processed an appeal against a district court sentence against immigrant Ismael Kaba, who last year was found guilty of rape of a 15 year old girl in the city of Joensuu in Northern Karelia. He was also found guilty of gross sexual abuse of a child – an offence that is tacked onto all rape cases in Finland when the victim is a minor.

 

Contacted his victim on social media
According to the District attorney, Kaba contacted his victim through Facebook and Snapchat. They arranged for a date in the city and after that Kaba invited the girl to an apartment on the pretence of meeting a friend of his. Kaba and the girl didn’t know each other before the date. After arriving in the apartment, Kaba had forced the girl down on a couch and put himself over her. The girl had resisted and several times told him to stop. Kaba ignored the girls resistance and raped her by forcing his fingers inside her. After some time he had been struck by a nose bleed and therefore terminated the rape.

They had left the apartment together and the girl took a bus home and blocked him from social media and all communications.

According to the DA, Kaba knew very well that his victim – who was a virgin – didn’t consent to his actions. The DA told the court that the girl had been afraid during the crime, since she didn’t know what could happen to her.

Before the court the DA presented evidence in the form of a medical examination, copies of a conversation on WhatsApp, as well as interrogation protocols from both Kaba and the girl.

 

Denied all accusations
Kaba told the court he had never had his hand inside the girl’s pants or done anything but having mutual kisses with her. The defense also claimed that a hand inside somebody’s pants should count at most as an attempt only. The defense also claimed that the girl had never claimed to have been abused or threatened with violence. Kaba pleaded not guilty to the charges of rape and sexual abuse of a child. According to him he had never touched the girl further than on her lower back and they hadn’t spent more than a few seconds or minutes in the apartment. Kaba said he had been surprised when he discovered the girl had blocked him from chat programs, since he was interested in getting to know her.

 

Circumstantial evidence
In its ruling, the District court wrote that when it is one person’s word against another’s, it is not enough that one party is considered to be a more believable person than the other to make a ruling, when direct evidence or circumstantial evidence is missing. However, the court found it remarkable that the girl had given a much more detailed account of what have happened than Kaba, as well as the fact that he claimed they had only spent seconds or a few minutes in the apartment even though he said he wanted to get to know her.

The District court also found that  testimony from a gynaecologist and a paediatrician supported the girl’s side of the story. Chat logs from WhatsApp between the girl and her friends from soon after the encounter also furthered the courts decision to believe the girl. The District court ruled that there was no reasonable doubt of Kaba’s guilt. Even though the violence he had used was considered to be mild it was still enough to overpower the girl and rape her.

 

No time served – 90 hours of community service instead
In June 27th of 2018, the District court sentenced Ismael Kaba, born 1998, to 2 years imprisonment on the grounds of rape and gross sexual abuse of a child. However, the District court ruled a normal prison sentence would be harmful to the development of Kabas and gave him a conditional prison term, which means he will serve no time unless convicted of another crime within the two years. Kabas was instead sentenced to 90 hours of community service, as well as reimbursing his victim €5000 for her suffering.

The Court of appeals found no reason to change the ruling of the District court.