Volunteer given prison sentence for assault in Ghana

A volunteer worker with Voluntary Service Overseas has been sentenced to four years in prison in Ghana after being found guilty of indecently assaulting a toddler.

Thomas Tichler, a 57-year-old father of three from Harpenden, Hertfordshire, denies the assault, which the court heard had taken place in October last year.

Tichler was looking after the three-year-old girl and two other children as a favour to a business associate. He was two weeks into a visit to Ghana as a consultant on a micro-finance project at the time.

A VSO spokeswoman said the charity had carried out a rigorous assessment before Tichler had gone overseas, including an in-depth interview and a Criminal Records Bureau check.

“Mr Tichler was subject to this process, and VSO had no cause for concern,” she said. “He has no previous criminal record.”

Tichler’s son James, speaking on behalf of his family, said: “We are shocked and saddened by this miscarriage of justice. We will begin the appeals process as soon as possible and are confident that justice will be served in due course.”

Tichler’s lawyers said they would appeal against the sentence.

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