How many have received a criminal record because they were too poor and didn’t have the time and money to get justice?

by Benjamin Matchap

The Monica Baey case is really sad and brings up some sour feelings i have with my encounter with the law.

As some of you may know, my girlfriend and I were attacked last year, by our next door neighbour.

During the case, we felt that the law made it difficult for us to get justice.

First of all, we had a video of the attack. My next door neighbour was filmed attacking both me and my girlfriend.

We called the police after a passer-by helped us ensure the neighbour would not continue his assault.

When the police came, they arrested me and the neighbour, despite having video evidence of the attack.

My girlfriend was left alone by herself after being just attacked, saw her boyfriend get arrested and she had no way of going home as the house keys was with me.

The investigation was incompetent.

My neighbour had used his watch as a weapon during the attack and both me and my girlfriend had matching injury marks to prove it, AS WELL AS THE VIDEO.

But that was never brought up in court. He had two charges against him, one for punching my girlfriend and another for fighting with me. He pleaded guilty right away and was fined 1k for fighting with me and the charge of punching my girlfriend was taken under “consideration”.

I had to fight the charge against me for a few months. Luckily i had a law firm take my case pro-bono.

After repeated visits to court, they still wanted to give me a 1k fine for protecting myself and my girlfriend, the same amount that was given to my neighbour who followed us and attacked us.

After months of back and forth i got a warning, when i collected my warning from the police, they asked me in a stern way if i would “behave” myself, i told them how they didn’t investigate properly, he replied that i could choose not to take the warning.

I asked him if the warning would constitute as an admission of guilt, he replied yes, i walked out and called my lawyers, they told me that it is not an admission of guilt. I went back and took the warning so i could close this aspect of the case.

I got my warning.

After that my girlfriend and i still had to battle with the court to get our protection order.

That process was fucked up because my girlfriend was made to be in the same room as her attacker as a consented protection order was pushed for both parties agree not to do certain things.

I had to tell the judge that I rather be in my neighbour’s shoes, where I can get mutual protection after attacking people. I told the judge that this was common sense not to attack people but she said, well since common sense does not work maybe we should have a mutual consented protection order.

When I told the judge i would agree not to run of out of my house naked when i see him and his daughters in the corridor, she asked if i have done that before and why i brought up such a specific situation. I told her since common sense did not apply i might as well add that in right?

She told me that she understands what i am trying to say, but no, i don’t think she did.

We had to go back to the court a few more times before my neighbour accepted a consented protection order without any terms from him.

I am just sharing this because getting justice seems tough and I really wonder what is going on, because to a layman like me, it seems like the world has gone mad.

To us, lay people, we would want the case to end fast. Imagine if i accepted the 1k fine, i would have a criminal record for being a victim of an attack.

How many others have been in my shoes and received a criminal record because they were too poor and didn’t have the time and money to get justice?

I am not sharing this story to undermine the public’s faith in the system, but i have to say my personal faith in the system has been undermined by the system.

This post was first published on Ben Matchap’s Facebook page and reproduced with permission