Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Lagos Secures Conviction of 142 Sex Offenders

At least, 142 sex offenders have been convicted in Lagos State in the last one year, even as the state government said it was currently prosecuting 1,069 criminal cases at various courts within the state.

Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Lagos State, Ade Ipaye, who made the disclosure yesterday at the yearly ministerial press conference of his ministry at Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Lagos, commended the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team of the state government for a job well done.

According to Ipaye, the response team was established to improve the safety of vulnerable persons and ensure offender responsibility by providing a crossjurisdictional response that is uniform in approach in the state.

“The team was conceived as a response to the increasing report of sexual and gender- based violence cases in the state.

The team facilitated the signing of Executive Order that established the Sex Offenders’ Register and Mandated Reporting Policy by His Excellency on December 1, 2014. To date, over 140 convicted sex offenders have been listed in the register,” he said.

On criminal prosecution, Ipaye noted that the Directorate of Public Prosecution, DPP, in the Ministry of Justice, received 795 police investigation files for advice in the last one year, out of which 716 files had been worked upon, while the rest were still being processed.

He disclosed that in the last one year the DPP had been engaging in the prosecution of 1,069 criminal cases in all courts.

“This figure includes the 786 cases currently being prosecuted at the federal and state high courts, as well as 54 and 11, respectively, at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

“The number is also inclusive of the 218 cases at the magistrates’ courts. In addition to the 1,069 active criminal prosecution files, the DPP’s office is also handling 160 applications for enforcement of fundamental rights. In the past one year, judgments were delivered in 54 cases in various matters the ministry was prosecuting,” he disclosed.

On civil litigation, the Attorney General said the Directorate of Civil Litigation was currently handling 1,260 cases in various courts, including magistrate courts, high courts, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, adding that judgments were delivered in 63 of the matters being handled.

Speaking on activities of the Office of the Public Defender, OPD, Ipaye said in the last one year the agency handled over 15,000 cases on behalf of indigent Lagosians at no cost, saying these matters cut across labour cases like civil matters, criminal cases, coroner’s inquests and fundamental rights cases.

“This brings the number of matters that OPD has been involved in the past four years to 30,998. OPD also facilitated the collection of over N42 million as compensation on behalf of complainants in the last one year. All together, in the past four years, OPD has assisted Lagosians to collect N152.85 million as compensation.
“During the period under review, OPD secured 49 judgments in favour of its clients. These judgments include those who were discharged and acquitted by the court after spending several years in prison, following applications by OPD,” he said.

On community service programme, Ipaye said between January 2014 and February 2015, 3,083 offenders were sentenced to various terms of community service across the 12 magisterial districts of Lagos State.
“This brings to 5,834 the number of offenders who actively assisted to improve their respective communities instead of being incarcerated in prisons, with the consequential disruption to their economic, social and family lives. The Community Service Unit uses recognised Lagos State Government agencies and facilities, including courts, local governments, and hospitals as work placement centres,” he stated.

National Mirror

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