Out-of-court settlements of sex offences slammed

National, Normal


OUT-of-court settlements for sexual offences must be discouraged at all costs because it only encourages more sex offences to be committed, a police conference has been told in Goroka, Eastern Highlands.
Police department’s highlands regional legal officer Melly Yapa said this on Monday at the opening of a three-day workshop on how law enforcement agencies should deal with sexual offences.
He said sexual offence was one of the most common offence committed and out-of-court settlements for any sexual offences must be discouraged to allow the natural course of justice to take its course.
Yapa urged the public prosecutor’s office, which would be prosecuting perpetrators allegedly involved in sexual offences, not to encourage out-of-court settlements.
He said when offenders were allowed to out of court settlement, they were encouraged to commit more of the similar offence.
Yapa delivered this core message speaking on behalf of Assistant Commissioner of Police Highlands Simon Kauba, who could not make to Goroka to open the conference being held at the PNG Institute of Medical Research state-of-the-art lecture theatre.
The call was supported by Goroka-based senior public prosecutor Keith Umpake who said that most of the offences settled outside courtrooms had long term psychological bearings on the victims.
He said police criminal investigation division officers and police prosecutors must liaise to properly prosecute offenders through the normal court processes.
Police Commissioner Gari Baki in a circular instruction dated May 20, 2007, called for prosecutors to adequately prosecute those who committed family crime of sexual violence of assaults of all forms, unlawful wounding, attempted murder, rape, carnal knowledge and incest.
He instructed senior police commanders to ensure members ensure that appropriate responses were taken for all complaints and investigated thoroughly.