Medical proof vital in sexual offence cases: Official

National

Medical evidence is crucial in attaining criminal convictions for family and sexual violence-related cases.
An adviser with the Family and Sexual Violence (FSU) unit in the office of the Public Prosecutor, Adam O’Connor, said that “medical evidence is vital in corroborating victims of family sexual violence in attaining a conviction within the criminal justice system.”
He made this comment during a collaborative workshop in Port Moresby involving professionals in the family and sexual violence (FSV) criminal justice system organised by the office of Public Prosecutor.
The workshop focused on improving the quality of medical evidence in family and sexual violence prosecutions and was attended by police officers, doctors and lawyers from the Public Solicitor and Public Prosecutor’s offices.
It was funded by the Australian government under the Justice and Stability for Development Programme.
The workshop was facilitated by Queensland state prosecutors and officials from the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
O’Conner said police and medical professionals played an important role in getting information when treating survivors of FSV and recording the findings that could be used in court to support a conviction
The key challenges aimed to address were completeness of medical evidence and the advocacy of medical evidence in court by lawyers.
“Medical doctors treat people and save lives but they don’t really document the details that lawyers need in court to attain convictions so this was an excellent opportunity for lawyers and doctors to discuss what is
needed in documenting medical evidence,” O’Connor said.

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