A concerned parent in Arua district whose 14 year old daughter was defiled three weeks ago has protested a decision by court to grant bail to the suspect. Vincent Afayoa says that much as the suspect is scheduled to re-appear in court on October 10, the decision sends a bad signal to other offenders.
Vincent Afayoa, a resident of Oliba parish in Logiri Sub county says his daughter was defiled by Sunday Opinira, a 20-year-old drug shop attendant in Cairo trading centre in Oliba parish.
Afayoa told URN on Friday that the incident happened on the night of September 9 at Cairo trading centre. The suspect was arrested and taken to Logiri police post where a case of defilement was opened under reference number CRB 03/10/09/2016.
The suspect appeared in court on September 19 before Arua Chief Magistrate Robinson Kumaketch, who granted him bail.
Afayoa now says the chief magistrate's decision left him frustrated.
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Afayoa says that much as Opinira is scheduled to re-appear in court on October 10, he still has failed to understand why court can't explain why suspects are granted bail for capital offenses like defilement. He says it sends a bad signal to other offenders.
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Sam Ondoma, the chairperson of West Nile lawyers group, says there is need for the Judiciary and Police to consider massive sensitisation of the public on circumstances under which bail applications and police bonds are granted to suspects.
Ondoma, who works with Alaka and Company Advocates, says many people have continued to complain blaming the judiciary, police and lawyers on the issue of bail and police bond especially for capital offenses.
He says whether a case is capital or not, bail can be granted to the suspected at the discretion of the presiding magistrate or judge. He says bail is a constitutional right of a suspect granted under certain conditions which the judiciary needs to consider educating the public to understand.
Ondoma believes there is still little civic education given to the public on the procedures and conditions of granting bail to suspects.
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Ondoma, however, says many times complainants get frustrated when bail or police bond is granted to a suspect thinking it's the end of the case. He says there is need to make the public and the affected persons understand why bail is granted.
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Police records show that 261 defilement cases were registered in the five districts of Arua, Nebbi, Zombo, Koboko and Maracha in the last six months. Josephine Angucia, the police Public Relations Officer for North Western Region says 90 of the cases proceeded to court while another 122 were submitted to resident State Attorney. Of those that went to court, eight people were convicted, three acquitted, three cases dismissed while 76 are still before court.
At 107, Arua district registered the highest number of defilement cases followed by Nebbi with 53 cases, Koboko with 44, Zombo with 35, while Maracha registered 22 cases.
According to Angucia, police still faces a huge challenge of cultural practices where young girls are believed to be a source of wealth. She says police usually gets stuck when the complainants withdraw the cases after receiving money from the offenders.
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