FINDING THE RAPIST: CAN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY HELP, IN GETTING JUSTICE FOR UWA? OR IS IT ANOTHER CASE OF A VICTIM SOON TO BE FORGOTTEN?

FINDING THE RAPIST: CAN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY HELP, IN GETTING JUSTICE FOR UWA? OR IS IT ANOTHER CASE OF A VICTIM SOON TO BE FORGOTTEN

By: DENNIS OSARETIN Esq.

According to a BBC news report on the 31st of May, 2020. There is outrage in Nigeria following the murder of a 22-year-old student, Uwa vera Omozuwa in a church.

hashtag #JusticeForUwa is trending in Nigeria, with her family appealing for help to track down her killers. Uwa vera had been studying in a “quiet” church near her home in Benin City when she was killed, her sister, Judith, told BBC Pidgin.The student, who had wanted to become a nurse, died in hospital on Saturday, three days after the attack. Judith Omozuwa said her sister had also been raped. Her family said they received a call from a woman at the Redeemed Christian Church of God on Wednesday evening. Uwa vera was taken to hospital after a security guard found her, her skirt torn and her shirt covered in blood.

Interestingly, a police spokesperson in Edo State, told BBC Pidgin that they were treating the incident as a murder, not a rape, case. The student died following a fight at the church, the spokesperson added, without giving more details. On Twitter, many Nigerians expressed concern about the government’s failure to tackle gender-based violence, and questioned whether parents were bringing up boys properly.

THE HEART OF THE MATTER
It’s no use, pointing out the shortcomings in Nigeria‚Äôs legal system, where the burden to proof rape or sexual violent crimes are placed on the prosecutor and the victim themselves, who must bring cogent and verifiable evidence to substantiate their allegations of a violent attack. It would interest you to note that the above is not the only challenges facing victims in Nigeria. In a country home to an estimated number of 170 million people, barely just a handful of facilities dedicated to the investigation and analysis of evidence gathered from scene of crimes.

THE ENGLAND EXAMPLE

The Code for Crown Prosecutors serve as a ready guide and procedure, which can be adopted in Nigeria. The Code for Crown Prosecutors is a public document, issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions in London, that sets out the general principles, Crown Prosecutors should follow when they make decisions on cases. It is regularly updated to reflect changes in law and practice.

The need for Forensic, Scientific and Medical Evidence in unraveling the perpetrators of violent sexual offences cannot be over emphasized, and a few details and peeps into available researched work will help In basic understanding.

According to the code one of the most important personel is a “Forensic physicians” who is an independent doctor whose duty is to the Court to collect evidence to assist in proving or disproving an offence. Prosecutors are at liberty to contact them directly, rather than via police channels.

Secondly, the services provided by forensic physicians and paediatricians is likely to vary depending on factors which include: their kids level of expertise; the facilities they use, whether a sexual assault referral centre (SARC), a hospital or a police victim examination suite or other; whether they are supported by crisis workers; and what care pathways to other support services are in place. Whilst some FPs report to a lead clinician and are regularly subject to peer review, this is not always the case.

Thirdly, the forensic medical examination usually takes place with informed consent, once urgent medical treatment has been administered. The role of the forensic physician (FP) is both therapeutic and forensic and ideally the FP would ensure appropriate treatment for any injuries, arrange screening for sexually transmitted infections as appropriate, and consider and prescribe emergency contraception and post-exposure prophylaxis (if necessary).

In addition the FP also conduct a top to toe forensic examination and record all injuries, however minor, and other findings on a detailed body chart and in note form using correct medical terminology.

One aim of the examination is to recover evidence

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