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Girl says no one forced her to withdraw rape complaint against Dharamlall- police

Last Updated on Saturday, 1 July 2023, 2:55 by Denis Chabrol

The 16-year old girl, who in recent weeks accused Local Government Minister Nigel Dharamlall of raping her last December, on Thursday told her parents that she was dropping the complaint against the politician, police said.

The Guyana Police Force said that development could be verified. “Since yesterday (Friday) the virtual complainant informed her parents and the Child Care Protection officer that she did not want to proceed with this matter any further,” the law enforcement agency said.

According to police,  the girl and her parents, without the assistance of any investigator or any other member of the Guyana Police Force,  prepared a statement withdrawing the complaint.

The Police Force said it was also informed that that statement was delivered by hand to the DPP’s chambers by a parent of the virtual complainant and then another copy of that statement was delivered to the police force.

Amid fresh claims that the girl was shuttled from one child advocacy centre to another  on Friday and asked questions by police that did not make much difference from her previous forensic interviews, the police force said it was only after receiving the statement of withdrawal from the case  that investigators meet with the virtual complainant, her parent and a Childcare official at the Childcare and Protection Agency.

Police said the girl stated on a video that no one forced her to withdraw from the case.

“At that time, the Virtual Complainant, in the presence of her parent and the Childcare official, informed the investigators that she was withdrawing her complaint against Minister Nigel Dharamlall and that she was doing so without anyone forcing her to do so and of her own free will.

A video recording was made of the Virtual Complainant expressing these wishes, and her statement was then handed over to the investigators. All of this were done in the presence and hearing of her parent and the Childcare Protection Agency officer,” police said.

Police said the file would be sent back to the Director of Public Prosecutions for further legal advice.

The girl’s withdrawal from the case followed the DPP’s request on June 28, 2023 for police to conduct further investigations.

P0lice denied claims on social media and an unnamed online news outlet that the girl was subjected to repeated interviews up to 11 O’clock Thursday night. “This allegation has no basis in fact, and the truth can easily be established,” police said.

“For emphasis, it must be reiterated that at no time whatsoever was the Virtual Complainant interviewed and re-interviewed to exhaustion as is alleged. Further, any and all interactions with the Virtual Complainant and the investigators were always in the presence of the Childcare Protection Officers,” police added.

Police expressed concern that confidential information surrounding the interviews conducted by and at a particular Non-Governmental Organization was unauthorizedly disclosed to several persons who published details of same on social media. “This is a serious development which can undermine criminal investigations resulting in serious miscarriages of justice,” police said.

Mr Dharamlall, through his lawyer Nigel Hughes, has denied all allegations that first surfaced about 20 days ago. He is on GY$1 million bail and is on leave from ministerial duties, at his request.

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July 2023