Court Scolds Police For Prosecuting Suicide Suspect

The Donkorkrom Magistrate Court presided over by Mr Augustine Akusa-am, has expressed concern about the action of the police in hauling a 14-year -old girl who attempted to commit suicide before the court.

He said instead of prosecuting her, the police should have rather provided her with a counsellor after their investigations, especially considering the trauma that she went through.

The girl, (name withheld) a class five pupil who attempted to commit suicide by hanging herself in her parents’ apartment was rescued by neighbours and handed over to the police for investigations.

Facts of the case

The primary five pupil allegedly used a sponge in an attempt to hang herself in her father’s apartment at Maame Krobo at Donkorkrom on January 31, 2020.

She was, however, rescued by tenants in the house who heard an unusual noise from the room where she was sleeping and when they went to check, they found her trying to hang herself with a sponge.

She was rescued and rushed to the Abundant Health Centre where she was treated and discharged.

When the police later got wind of the case, they went to the house and arrested her with the explanation that they wanted to conduct investigations into the circumstances that led to the girl taking such an action.

Surprisingly after their investigations, the police rather charged her with the offence of attempted suicide without recourse to the circumstances that led to the action and rather hauled her before the Donkorkrom Magistrate Court for prosecution.

During the trial which was held in camera last Thursday, the suspect, who looked traumatised and remorseful, told the court that she attempted to take her own life due to the maltreatment by her elder sister at home.

Physical and emotional assault

She explained further that her elder sister, who was in charge of the house, had been assaulting her physically and emotionally anytime she committed an error at home, so she decided to take a cue from a Ghanaian movie she had been watching to end her life so that she could free herself from any mental torture and the unnecessary punishment at home.

In his ruling, Mr Akusa-am expressed concern about the action of the police in charging the suspect with the offence and hauling her before the court for prosecution.

The court held that the police should have rather provided a counsellor for the suspect after their investigations, especially considering the trauma she had been through.

The magistrate, however, advised the suspect to refrain from future attempts to commit suicide, explaining that through her education, she could build a formidable career and become a prominent citizen in Ghana.

The court further advised the elder sister who appeared sober and sobbed occasionally during the trial to treat the suspect leniently so that she would lead a responsible life.

Probation Officer

The court again ordered the Probation Officer, who was part of the panel, to provide a social enquiry report on the suspect within two weeks.

According to the court, the social enquiry report would guide it to arrive at a final decision when the suspect reappeared at a later date.

The suspect, who was admitted to bail to reappear before the court on March 4, 2020, pleaded with the court to forgive her and gave an assurance that she would never consider taking her life again.