Pleading for perpetrators of crime interferes with the justice system, Lagos State Office of Public Defender (OPD) Director, Mrs. Adenrera Adeyemi, has said.
She spoke at a sensitisation campaign and legal clinic in Igando Community, held at the palace of the Onigando of Igando, Oba Lasisi Gbadamosi.
Addressing the theme of sexual abuse and domestic violence, the director emphasised that there is no ignorance in law adding that anyone who goes against the law should be punished.
Adeyemi said: “We have seen cases of children being raped by men old enough to be their fathers and the elders of the community – landlords, community and religious leaders, family members and respectable people – seek to cover such cases by pleading with the child’s family or even giving them bribes, forgetting the psychological harm and physical damage that have been caused.
“They should stop begging for the perpetrators. It is shameful to see that they are pleading for criminals as against supporting the government to ensure that those who commit evil acts do not go free so as to serve as deterrent to others.
“We must not encourage negative acts in our society”, she said, noting that if nothing is done to perpetrators of evil acts, they would go back to commit more grievous offences or encourage others to do likewise.
While expressing concern over the increasing cases of sexual offences, especially rape and defilement of children, Olayinka reaffirmed the State Government zero tolerance for domestic violence.
Rape, the director said, is a form of domestic violence just like defilement and that the punishment for both is life imprisonment under the Criminal Law of Lagos.
She added: “When you bring the matter to us, we make sure no offense such as child abuse or sexual abuse goes unpunished. Most children when asked what they want, only seek justice and if they don’t get justice the trauma will still be there,” Olayinka explained.