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General News of Friday, 27 April 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

16-year-old suspect walks free as court dismisses defilement case of 4-year-old girl

The case of the alleged defilement of a four-year-old girl at Assin Adadientem has been dismissed by a court in the Central Region.

Sources close to JoyNews say, prosecutors could not provide enough evidence to back claims the girl was defiled.

The case was tried behind closed doors at the juvenile court at Assin Fosu because the suspect had not reached the age of criminal responsibility.

Joy News' regional correspondent Richard Kojo Nyarko picked from court sources the suspect pleaded not guilty to the charge of defilement.

Witnesses were called including the doctor whose medical report showed there were no lacerations, no bruises or indications of the least degree of penetration to confirm defilement.

Maxwell Agbagba who followed the story in October 2017 said a police investigator told him, the suspect, a 16-year old, has been "acquitted and discharged"

Background

The mother of the victim, Monica Nyarko, found out about the abuse while trying to bath her daughter who told her, she was in pains after she was defiled by the suspect. Nyarko first reported the matter to the chief of the area before later involving the police.

Police and hospital sources say further test was not done on the girl after she was brought to the hospital for examination.

There were no samples taken around the vagina for examination, Maxwell Agbagba learnt.

Vital evidence may also have been washed away in bathing the girl and the mother reported the incident a day later.

The story of the alleged defilement generated national anger when the chief of the town alleged the gods had cleared the suspect of wrongdoing.

Harshtags #Justiceforher #justiceforkids trended with public disgust at the incident. Critics piled pressure on authorities to get to the bottom of the case.

An online petition gathered more than 24,000 signatures to get the Attorney-General to prioritise cases of sexual abuse.

Parliament detailed the Gender and Children Committee of Parliament to follow the case. The chairman of the committee and Saboba MP Charles Bintin is blaming poor investigations by the police for the outcome of the case.

" I don't think proper investigations were done", he told Joy News following the dismissal of the case.

Lawyer and Executive Director of the Ark Foundation, Angela Dwamena Aboagye said she is "not surprised at all" by the outcome of the case because the court cannot find a man guilty without proper evidence.

She said the judgment is "one of many cases of sexual violence that goes to court and does not end in successful prosecution".

The Gender advocate expressed serious doubt about the police ability to properly investigate cases of sexual violence because their training on such crimes is outdated.

She said in other jurisdictions there are clear protocols that facilitate the collection of evidence in cases of sexual assault.

Angela Dwamena Aboagye said there is a sexual violence kit used by professionals when a victim of an alleged sexual assault is brought in.

The gender advocate, however, wants more focus in helping the victim beyond the drama in court.

"Justice is not only about the court", she said and charged authorities to also focus on helping the victim receive psychological help.

"Sometimes the justice system cannot deliver the justice that we all want".