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Original Articles

Justice delayed –Justice denied; a study on time intervals of medico-legal examinations, reporting and giving evidence in cases of alleged child abuse victims

Authors:

PAS Edirisinghe ,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About PAS
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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IDG Kitulwatte,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About IDG
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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AAS Sihanada,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About AAS
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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BAAR Bulathsinhala

University of Kelaniya, LK
About BAAR
Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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Abstract

Introduction: A medico-legal examination is an important step in the legal system where initiation of giving justice to the victim begins. Giving ‘Justice’ is a process where many stake holders are involved. An undue delay in the system is considered as justice denied as well as draining of the value of the judgment.

Objective: to find out the time frames of the medico-legal examinations, reporting, and giving oral evidence in a court of law and recommend measures to improve the existing system.

Study Design : Retrospective descriptive study was conducted based on case records maintained by first and second authors for past ten years. The information was gathered on a proforma to fulfill the objectives. The data was analyzed using version 16 of SPSS statistical package.

Results: Out of 110 cases studied 78% of cases were on alleged sexual abuse. 52% belonged to the adolescent age group (12-18). 74% of cases were seen within 24hours of issue of MLEF but 5.5 % were seen after 7 days. 56(51%) cases examined did not receive summons/request from a relevant authority indicating that either the cases were settled with the police or no further investigations carried out. Response to summons/request for MLR was good (80% were sent within 3 months). Mean time taken to summon/request a report by the relevant authority was 17 months, while mean time to receive a summons from the High Court was 50.6 months (4.2 years). The mean time taken to give medical evidence was 62.5 months (5.2 years) from the day of the examination.

Conclusion: There was no delay in initiation of medico-legal examination. Responding to summons was satisfactory. However, the mean period of 1.4 years in requesting the report and period of 5 years in high court proceedings need serious considerations.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v1i1.7266

Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka 2011; 1(1), Jan-April : 20-26

How to Cite: Edirisinghe, P. et al., (2014). Justice delayed –Justice denied; a study on time intervals of medico-legal examinations, reporting and giving evidence in cases of alleged child abuse victims. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka. 1(1), pp.20–26. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v1i1.7266
Published on 08 Aug 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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