CARL worried over dismissal of sexual offences matters


February 22, 2017 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

Project Coordination at the Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL), Prince Bull, yesterday said about 50% of the sexual offences cases charged to court were dismissed as a result of improper medical report.

Bull said sexual victims in Makeni, the home town of President Koroma, were asked to pay a certain amount of money before they could be  examined and treated, which ,he said, was contrary to the Sexual Offences Act of 2012.

He said his organisation was funded by TROCARE to increase women’s access to justice in Makeni, Bombali district.

“We are told during our investigation that sexual victims do pay Le10, 000 or more for pregnancy test, which, we believe should be inclusive of the medical treatment of sexual offences. Paying such amount is in contravention of the Act itself,” he said, noting that they were hoping to move to other parts of the country to ascertain as to whether they share similar same situation.

When asked about their role to ensure that medical practitioners go by the Sexual Offences Act of 2012, the coordinator noted that they intended to engage policy makers, and stakeholders that were particularly responsible for the implementation of laws.

“50% of the sexual offences cases sent to the court in 2014 and 2015 were dismissed based on improper medical report,” he said.

The meeting attracted representatives from media, Family Support Unit, Law Officers Department, and Justice Sector Development Programme (JSDP).

The Deputy Coordinator at JSDP, Bridget Osho, stated that the issue of Gender Based Violence cases being dismissed was appalling, and that such can only be addressed when data collected were taken seriously and presented to government.

She noted that her office will continue to work with government to increase access to justice.

Lawyer Allieu Vandy from Law Officers Department did a presentation on the Sexual Offence Act (SOA) of 2012.

He said Section 39 of SOA stated that medical examination for sexual victims shall be free but noted that much awareness has not been raised on the said section.

He called on Civil Society Organisations to raise ‘dust’ on the said section.