Earlier this week, the country was left in dismay when a case concerning a teenager who was raped and abducted by a police officer was dismissed after the teenager refused to testify. According to reports, the victim, the did not want to proceed with the case because he has forgiven the accused and does not wish to relive the experiences which she experienced two years ago.
She was persuaded not to refuse to testify by her mother, lawyer and counselor. However the victim did not want to proceed with the case. Because of the lack of other evidence such as an eyewitness or forensics, and her refusal to testify, the prosecutor was forced to withdraw the case.
After the news broke, the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda tabled the discussion during the weekly Cabinet meet on Wednesday.
According to cabinet notes: ” The Cabinet held a discussion on the recent case involving an adult male who was accused of having sexual intercourse with a thirteen year-old female minor, but who had the case against him dismissed because the young girl refused to testify against the accused male.”
Chief of staff, Lionel Hurst noted that “The outcome of the case alarmed many groups and ordinary citizens, several of whom expressed their displeasure. Cabinet agreed that the legal framework was exploited, and that there likely exists methods by which the law can be strengthened to protect minors unwilling to testify. The Cabinet agreed to establish a subcommittee to examine further any changes to the law that would cure the deficiency.”