A 23-year-old man was engaging in a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl and was convicted of the crime of “child defilement” as a result. He appealed the conviction to the High Court, which overturned it.
The law says that a person is guilty of “child defilement” if that person engages in penetrative sex with a person under 18 years of age. The Court determines these elements are met but says that considering them alone is not enough because it would allow young girls to “freely engage in sex and then opt to report to the police whenever they disagree with their boyfriends.” In other words, the Court assumes that girls regularly make false reports.
Despite the fact that the man is on trial for a crime, the Court focuses on the child’s behavior alleging she acted as an adult characterizing her behavior as sneaky. The Court determines it “ought to treat such a child as a grown-up who knows what she is doing.” After making its evaluation under this criteria, the Court states it cannot find the man guilty of a crime.
The decision sets a dangerous precedent assuming that girls who consent to sex before age 18 should not be afforded special protections provided to children and suggests that girls who do not report sexual violence immediately after the incident may be lying.
The decision is available here.
Judges who issued the decision
Said Juma Chitembwe
Dinnah KyasimiireWhat an injustice in this day. I hope that there is an ongoing appeal against such a decision. Clearly the Judge erred in his decision. Decisions should be based on the evidence as provided and not personal sentiments. This judgement leaves the children who are daily under going such conditions helpless.
Robert FerreiroIdaho.....5 yo girl raped by 5.....they go free.... Needs to be added to this....