The country’s former Attorney General is suggesting that instead of focusing solely on the accused, in sex cases involving children as victims, the mothers of these children should also be placed under the microscope.
Justin L. Simon QC stated that in many of these cases, the mothers of the minors are fully aware of what is going on even before the matters are brought to the court, and they do nothing to stop it.
“Maybe it is time that the legislature should look towards putting some blame on the mothers and addressing those issues. If the investigation clearly indicates that the mothers were aware of what was going on and condoned it, that is where I think the action should be taken,” Simon said.
Meanwhile, he also weighed in on the debate on a case involving a police prosecutor who was accused of kidnapping a 13-year-old girl and having sex with her two years ago. The alleged victim, who reported the matter four months after the alleged attack, told the court recently that she had forgiven the accused and no longer wished to pursue the matter. So the case was withdrawn in the absence of any other significant corroborating evidence.
Many interest groups have expressed outrage that the accused escaped prosecution and are questioning whether the case could be continued despite the victim’s unwillingness to testify.
Speaking directly to the matter and this particular concern, Simon stressed that the court cannot do anything to force someone to give evidence. He also emphasised that a minor, by law, cannot give consent to sex, however with respect to giving evidence, the court cannot force a minor to give evidence and nobody can give evidence on behalf of that person.
“A minor, who is the victim, must herself give evidence before the court because no one else can say what happened to her. The doctor’s evidence can confirm, somebody else’s can confirm what she says, but she, the virtual complainant, must give evidence before the court.
“The only person who can try to encourage [her otherwise] is the prosecution – the police and the judge cannot interfere with that process. No one can appeal to the executive, which is the government, to interfere with that process, or to try to put pressure on the court to address this matter because the court cannot,” Simon explained.
He went a bit further to point out that the judiciary and the executive branches of government are separate.
“The very same people who want to put pressure on the executive to do something, are tomorrow going to say that the executive can influence the judiciary and there is corruption within the system, so that is an absolute ‘No!’ as far as I am concerned,” the former AG said.