The Attorney-General’s Deparment has made it clear that, under no circumstance can defilement cases be settled outside the law courts.
It warned that any individual or group of people who arranges or presides over the settlement of such cases out of court, would be swiftly and ruthlessly dealt with according to the law, no matter their status in life.
“This is because the offence falls under a group of cases referred to as felony, and that makes it a very serious offence against the state and not any individual,” said Mr Simon Adatsi, Senior State Attorney and Deputy Volta Regional Head of the department.
In an interview at his office at Ho on Monday, following growing concerns about the settlement of defilement and other criminal cases out of court, Mr Adatsi said that apart from defilement, cases of murder, manslaughter and rape could also not be settled outside the courts because of their serious nature, and “that is why, they carry heavy sentences ranging between seven and 25 years”.
Mr Adatsi explained that even defilement victims and complainants of such cases, are only prosecution witnesses in the cases and, therefore, have no power to withdraw the cases from the courts for settlement “in the comfort of their homes or in the chief’s palace”.
He said that only the state, could for various reasons, decide to discontinue a case before the court.
According to the Senior State Attorney, a court “may” promote reconciliation and encourage and facilitate an amicable settlement of an offence which did not amount to a felony.
He mentioned assault without battery, obstructing a policeman in the course of his duty, disturbing the peace and insulting behaviour, as misdemeanours which might be settled amicably, with the discretion of the court.
However, even if such cases of misdemeanour are settled out of court, the parties would have to come back to the court to inform it about the settlement, said Mr Adatsi.
He urged members of the public to promptly report anyone who attempts to arrange the settlement of defilement cases at home to the police, and said “Let us allow the law to work”.
From Alberto Mario Noretti,Ho