Our client was a 12-year-old boy charged with assault. I met him January 15, 2014 at a police suspects’ parade at Hoima Police Station. He looked scared throughout the parade; wondering what was going to happen to him. Such a young boy should have been at home playing with his friends and I knew I had to help him. I waited anxiously for an opportunity to hear what had happened with his case.
As his name was read out, he stood in fear looking at the officers who brought him to the police parade. His charge was read, the investigation of his case was terminated and with his file closed, his next stop would be prison.
Determined to help, I got hold of his file to see if Justice Centres could intervene and I was given permission to talk to him. As I read through the documents, I learned that our client had hurt a girl with a stone while they were playing. I also learned that the victim’s father was upset with our client’s parent. The reason being that he had refused to pay the medical bills that arose from the incident.
I then spoke to our client and the first thing he said was, “aunt I’m very sorry, I did not intend to hurt my friend, a stone hit her accidentally. Will you take me out of here?” I assured him that I was going to do everything I could to help him. He told me his story and I realized that he didn’t deserve to be incarcerated.
My next step was to call our clients’ father and the father of the victim to my office. I held a mediation during which it was agreed that our client’s father would pay the victims’ parent all the money that was spent on the treatment of his child. It was also agreed that our clients’ father would give the police a statement verifying that the matter had been sorted amicably. Our client could not believe that a stranger he had met a few hours before had saved him. This is just one of the many examples of the services that JCU has provided to the vulnerable.