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General News Mon, 10 Feb 2020

Boo residents demand justice for a defiled basic school girl

Residents of Boo in the Lawra Municipality of the Upper West Region, are calling on stakeholders to help seek justice for a 14-year-old primary four pupil at the Boo Roman Catholic Basic School who, a teacher allegedly defiled.

They said the victim had since been dropped out of school and fled the community due to the stigma and mockery she had been going through since the incident occurred in October 2018 and the teacher transferred to the Ashanti Region.

Mr Stephen Nang, a brother of the victim told the reporter that he reported the incident to the head teacher of the school, but nothing was done about it and that through his instrumentality, the matter was reported to the police and subsequently sent to court.

He explained that though the matter went to court, the manner in which the case was dropped and the suspect and head teacher of the school released on transfers raised suspicions and appealed to stakeholders to take interest in the matter and call for a thorough investigations to ensure that justice is given to the poor girl.

When contacted, the victim said that one Daniel Owusu, who was a teacher at the school, defiled her when she went to remove cloths, she and three of her colleagues had washed for him.

"When we were going Miss Paula (a female teacher) called back my other colleagues to run errands for her while one other went to the class to pick our books leaving me alone to remove the cloths. I removed the clothes and sent them inside the teacher’s room not knowing he was already waiting in the room for me.

“I dropped the cloths on a chair and turned to go out but Mr Owusu called me to come back, I went and asked what he wants me to do but he didn't say anything, so I turned to go out and he held my dress, pulled me to the floor, and forcibly had sex with me", she explained.

She said the incident had affected her so much that she had lost interest in education, hence her decision to stop schooling.

"When that happened, any time I go to school they will be talking about it, even in the house, so it gets me thinking almost all the time, when I sit in class I will just be thinking about it, so as for me I will not go to school again", she explained in between tears.

However, a police medical report conducted on the victim at the Lawra Municipal Hospital on April 3, 2019, indicated that the victim's hymen had been broken and that she was infected with bacterial vaginosis.

Also, police report dated April, 17, 2019, filed by one of the girls with whom the victim did the washing, said the victim narrated her ordeal to her after the incident.

"After I finished fetching (the water) for Miss Paula, I traced (her) and heard her crying in teacher Owusu’s room. I stood on the veranda and waited for her to come out.

“When she came out of the room she was still crying and when I asked her she told me that when she sent the clothes inside, master slept with her. I asked again and she said master had sex with her.", Ida Nabiebakye said in the police statement.

The aggrieved residents, however, said the head teacher of the Boo RC Basic School did not take any action against Mr. Owusu when the incident of defilement was reported to him.

However, a visit to the Boo RC Basic School revealed that the head teacher at the time the defilement incident occurred had been transferred out of the school while the accused teacher had also been transferred out of the region.

Some court documents available to the reporter indicated that the defilement charge against Owusu was called at the Lawra Circuit Court on May 8, 2019, but was later dropped upon the advice of Mr Frank Asiedu Nimakoh, Assistant State Attorney in the Upper West Region, on 23rd October, 2019.

The court documents in possession of the reporter, where charges against the accused were dropped indicated that five months after witnesses wrote statements will not be credible enough and that the statements from witnesses were not corroborating.

“Assuming the medical examination was to the effect that the victim had been defiled, the obvious question would be whether or not the accused is responsible. The evidence on report vis-à-vis statements given to the police by the victim and those given by the witnesses do not support defilement of the victim by the accused person”, the document read.

“This is because these witnesses cannot be said to be credible witnesses. You are therefore to drop the charge of defilement against the accused person”, the document signed by Mr Frank Asiedu Nimakoh, Assistant State Attorney stated.

Mr Liman A. Omar, a Deputy District Director of Education at Lawra in charge of Finance and Administration who stood surety and bailed Owusu claimed that the accused was framed up.

Mr Omar said in a telephone interview that the accused’s life was in danger in the community hence the need to release him on a transfer.

Mr Eric Badery, another resident at Boo also alleged that the accused had had amorous relationship with his daughter while he was a tenant in his house at Boo.

Mr Badery said Owusu was once seen having sex with his daughter in his house, which he said was a taboo and fined him (Owusu) and made him to pay some money as tradition demanded and was ejected from the house later.

Mr Jude Samani, another resident of Boo, said Owusu had had sentimental relationship with his niece who was in a Senior High School saying that such a person is a threat to female students wherever he will be and called for action against him to save other children.

He said though he confronted the teacher and the head teacher of the Boo RC Basic School on the issue his complaint was in vain.

The victim is currently in Tamale in the Northern Region undergoing counseling and to possibly enroll her in school.

Meanwhile the Gbewaa Chambers Limited in Tamale, counsel for the victim had petitioned the Minister of Justice and Attorney General to intervene in the matter for the victim to get justice.

The Reverend Father Gregory N. Dery, a Barrister and Solicitor at the Gbewaa Chambers Limited told the reporter that he had to petition higher authorities because Mr Frank Asiedu Nimako, the Assistant State Attorney was bias in the case.
Source: T B Philip, Contributor
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