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03.05.2007 General News

Prosecution of defilement cases faces setback

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Prosecution of defilement cases in the Eastern region has become difficult due to the problem of determining the exact age of victims.

Most of the victims did not have birth certificates and in most cases relatives could not give any tangible evidence or information to enable the police determine appropriate ages of victims for prosecution.

Police Inspector Constance Addo of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVSSU) of the Ghana Police Service announced this at the Eastern Regional Population Advisory Committee meeting at Koforidua.

The meeting attended by various heads of institutions to dialogue on how strategies for the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy(GPRS) could be achieved in the region.

It focused on eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal basic education, gender equity and women empowerment, combat of HIV/AIDS and environmental degradation.

Leading a discussion on gender equity and empowerment at the meeting, she noted that most suspects were freed for lack of evidence in determining the ages of their victims.

Police Inspector Addo said defilement could be prosecuted for victims under 16 years, but most of the victims looked more than 16 years of the ages provided resulting in the discharge of suspects because their victims had no birth certificates to support their claim.

She said another hindrance to the discharge of gender equity was the inability of most parents of victims of defilement to purchase the medical forms that formed part of evidence to prosecute criminal cases such as rape and defilement in court.

"Because victims of defilement and their parents could not afford the little cost involved in preparing documents for the prosecution of cases, they often take the matter home to be settled amicably with a little compensation while the suspect is let off the hook, " she added.

Source: GNA

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