15.Rwandan Dancer Titi Brown Acquitted in Defilement Case Due to Lack of Concrete Evidence

Thierry Ishimwe aka Titi Brown was acquitted of defilement charges under which he had been on trial last week on November 10 by the Nyarugenge Intermediate Court that ruled no strong evidence beyond the victim’s testimony was given, and thus leading the court to doubt the accused’s involvement in the alleged rape and resultant pregnancy.

The judgment noted that the victim, identified as M.J., was raped and got pregnant as a result. However, it considered the victim’s word, by itself, as insufficient evidence and highlighted the lack of additional corroborating evidence. This benefit of the doubt in the absence of evidence contrary to Ishimwe’s defense led to his acquittal and immediate release.

This case had been ongoing since 2021, had the dancer answering to accusation of defilement and impregnating a 17-year-old girl. Court decision also took into account the absence of compelling evidence directly linking Ishimwe to the alleged crime.

On top of an acquittal, the court ruled no damages will be paid in this case. Earlier, Ishimwe’s legal team sought compensation from the victim’s family, citing the dancer’s estimated monthly income of around Rwf2m. They requested 44m Rwf as compensation for potential earnings lost since Ishimwe’s arrest.

During the trial, Ishimwe maintained a not guilty plea throughout. He claimed the girl visited him at his home to check out a dance studio he intended to open. He denied sexually assaulting her or being responsible for her pregnancy.

The prosecution presented evidence including a video showing the victim and Ishimwe inside the dancer’s residence. A psychological test showed she was suffering from depression because of the ordeal. The prosecution sought the taking of a DNA sample before the girl’s abortion to compare it with Ishimwe’s DNA. The result of the medical examination was no match between the two DNA samples.

Titi Brown was a well-known personality in the local music and entertainment industries prior to his imprisonment, having worked on choreography and appeared in numerous music videos.

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