12.05.2005 Crime & Punishment

Cases to be discontinued because of the lack of cooperation

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Hohoe, May 12, GNA-Mr. Victor Edusa-Poku, Hohoe District Police Commander, on Wednesday decried the situation whereby first felony criminal cases like rape and defilement in the area were to be discontinued due to the lack of cooperation of parties involved in the cases.

He said though over 20 cases were reported to the District Police Station between January 2004 and March 2005, only four defilement cases and one rape case had been fully investigated an sent to courts. Mr. Edusa-Poku said the majority of the cases did not go beyond issuance of medical forms to victims to attend hospitals. The Police Commander in an interview with the GNA at Hohoe said the development was an affront to juvenile justice administration in the district.

Mr. Edusa-Poku explained that the settlement of rape and defilement cases among families generally failed to address the emotional ordeal or the psychological and physical trauma of the victims. He said for many relatives of victims, the medical form was only an indication that the case had been reported to the Police and a bait to canvas for higher compensation from the suspect in an out of court settlement.

Mr Edusa-Poku said all efforts to secure cooperation afterwards became difficult and attempts to trace the complainants become futile. The District Commander said this trend could result in the upsurge of crime in the district, as the monetary compensations were often not punitive to deter would be rapists and child abusers.

He said rape and defilement cases could be tried in court months or years after the offence had been committed but it was much more convenient if reports were made immediately after the incident.

"It is important that victims show resistance and preserve torn underwear and other incriminating materials as evidence which would assist Police in investigations," the District Commander stated Mr Edusa-Poku debunked the notion that the lack of faith in the Police and the justice system in the country was contributing to the trend.

Mr Edusa-Poku said the lack of cooperation from the families of victims was partly due to ignorance and poverty and appealed to the public to consider the Police as partners in development and support them to discharge cooperate fully with them at all times.

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