A 10-year-old defiled girl (name withheld) has finally been served justice after six years of legal battle.
On July, 30, 2015, Atinka FM’s Regina Asamoah first broke a story of a 10-year-old girl who was left bedridden after being defiled twice by a man whom she alleged was her schoolmate’s father.
The girl was a class one pupil of Anyaa D/A Government School who was staying with her aunt at Anyaa, a suburb of Accra in the Greater Accra Region.
Initial interaction with the girl on her sickbed at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital Children’s Ward revealed that the suspect defiled her in a bush on 14th and 17th July, 2015 respectively on her way to school.
The man known to the victim as “Jessica Papa” (Jessica’s Father) was an auto mechanic who also lived in the area. The suspect’s real name is Mathew Nartey.
Pediatricians at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital confirmed in their report that the victim was bed ridden due to the force penetration when she was being defiled. The family later resorted to herbal medicine due to lack of finances to continue the medication at the Teaching Hospital.
The victim’s mother now deceased (name withheld), in an earlier interview with Regina Asamoah in June, 2019, explained that they had to resort to herbal medicine because they couldn’t raise an amount of GHC120,000 to enable their daughter to undergo surgery since she was unable to walk after one month of review. After several attempts, the victim managed to walk but easily fell at the least attempt to walk fast.
Her Aunt said the victim had become traumatized and would not go on any errand that took her far away from the house. The family had to relocate to psychologically help her recover from the trauma.
In 2015, the case was first taken to court by the investigator, Madam Mary Ashai. The accused pleaded an alibi; hence, he was discharged. It is worthy of note that the family of the victim was not informed about the court date, hence, their inability to go to the court. The family only got to know after they had visited the Police Station to enquire if a court date had been secured, only to be informed that the accused had been discharged.
After series of reports by Atinka FM’s Regina Asamoah on the girl’s condition, the accused was rearrested and brought to court. On 9th March 2017, the case started de novo at the Circuit Court 5 (Gender Court) in Accra in the Greater Accra Region.
After 19 months of going to the court, on 2nd October 2018, the Counsel for the accused pleaded for an adjournment for submission of no case. The case was then adjourned to the 1st November, 2018.
However, the news of the transfer of the judge came as a surprise to all. The family who thought they were gradually getting close to justice for their daughter, became frustrated but with hope in the justice system, they agreed to start the case once again.
Prosecuting Officer, Chief Inspector Kofi Atimbire in an earlier interaction told Atinka FM that, it was frustrating starting the case all over again considering the stage it got to.
However, he assured that the case which started de novo on the 20th November, 2018 will travel fast as in his own estimation all evidence and witnesses were still intact. However, the case did not travel as fast as expected.
The newly transferred judge started the case denovo. Months into the case, the judge was promoted to serve as a High Court Judge. The family was later informed that the Judge will only sit on Fridays at the Circuit Court.
Just when a date for the judgment was set in February, 2020, the accused absconded. Efforts to get his sureties to appear before the court proved futile. An arrest warrant was issued on 14th February, 2020 against the accused, Mathew Nartey.
Upon a tip-off, Mathew Nartey was rearrested on 13th July, 2021 by Police Personnel from the Odorkor Police Divisional Headquarters led by the Station Officer, Chief Inspector George Koranteng at Nsakina (a community in Greater Accra Region) where the accused operated as ‘Trotro’ Driver.
He appeared before the court on 23rd July, 2021 where he was placed on remand after he appealed for mercy, explaining that he absconded to take care of his ill health that needed urgent attention. The case was adjourned to 6th August, 2021 for judgment.
On 6th August, 2021 at about 1:25pm, High Court judge, Justice Rita Abroakwah sitting in at the Gender Court, brought finality to the case.
She sentenced the accused, Mathew Nartey to nine years (9) imprisonment and a compensation fine of GHC5000 to cover the victim’s medical bills. She tasked the Police to take the accused to the hospital for treatment although the accused did not submit any report as evidence of his ill-health.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Atinka News Regina Asamoah, the abused girl now 16-yr-old sighed a deep relief saying ‘I can now go out without fear as the man who abused me is behind bars. I thank Jehovah for the victory and for granting me justice’.
Aunt of the victim was full of appreciation for all those who supported her since the unfortunate incident happened to her niece. According to her, her faith in journalists has increased as Atinka FM/TV’s continuous report on the issue has ensured this victory despite the long legal battle.
Reacting to the judgement, Country Director of Plan International Ghana, Solomon Tesfamariam expressed his excitement at the justice served the abused girl since he has been following the story since 2019.
According to him, justice brings closure to the case and sends a message that abuse against girls is illegal and unacceptable. He called for a deeper collaboration between the health and legal systems in Ghana in the effective management of defilement cases to ensure speedy prosecution and complete medical care for victims of abuse.