The Wa Circuit Court has taken a decisive step in the case involving a 35-year-old man accused of defiling 12 children in Wa, the Upper West regional capital.
The court has ruled that the accused, Ahmed Rashid, must present his defence starting September 1.
This move comes as a result of the court’s establishment of a prima facie case against Rashid, who is facing six counts of defilement out of the total 18 charges brought forth by the state.
Present at the court proceedings on Friday was a police investigator who took to the witness stand, shedding light on his meticulous findings concerning three of the alleged abused children.
The investigator’s testimony directly implicated Ahmed Rashid, revealing that he had engaged in multiple instances of sexual activity with the minors aged 12 and 13.
A crucial video, serving as the catalyst for the legal proceedings, was played in court, providing evidence of the victims’ statements regarding Rashid’s involvement in these acts.
A noticeable departure from previous hearings, where the accused responded with minimal statements, occurred during this session.
A heated exchange between Rashid and the police investigator took place during the cross-examination.
After a thorough evaluation of the presented evidence, His Honour Jonathan Avogo, the presiding judge, concluded that the prosecution had successfully established a prima facie case against Rashid.
Consequently, the accused has been directed to prepare his defense for presentation on September 1.
The judge urged the accused to seek legal representation, highlighting that the court had reached out to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to ensure he received appropriate legal aid.
However, amidst the legal proceedings, the complainant in the case expressed deep concern about the safety of his family, which has reportedly come under attack.
Apart from the ongoing docket, an additional four dockets comprising 12 counts of defilement and attempted defilement remain pending against Ahmed Rashid.
As the court directs the accused to prepare his defense, this case serves as a stark reminder of the critical role the judicial system plays in safeguarding the rights of minors and ensuring justice prevails.