Supreme Court quashes 15-year jail term

Mr. Eric Asante, a teacher who had already finished serving his 15 years jail term at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons, in the Eastern Region, for defiling and impregnating a 14-year-old pupil, was yesterday acquitted and discharged by the Supreme Court, when he appealed against his wrongful conviction and sentence.

The victim, Eric Asante, 36, heaved a sigh of relief when the five-member panel of judges presided by Mr. Justice Anin Yeboah, unanimously quashed the Tamale High Court judgement, that consigned the Applicant/Appellant (Eric Asante), to 15 years in prison on September 5, 2005.

Interestingly, Mr. Asante’s acquittal and discharge was triggered by a DNA analysis (test), performed on July 7, 2015, by a DNA Analyst at the Police Forensic Science Laboratory in Accra, and read in court last year, pointed to the fact that Eric Asante, was not the biological father of the child (name withheld).
The result of the test read as follows: “That the DNA analysis performed on July 7, 2015, fulfilled all the requirements and standards used in the performance of the said DNA and same was witnessed by the representatives of both the appellant and complainant and the final analysis excluded the appellant of being a father to the child.”

The Supreme Court held the view that the medical doctor who examined the pupil, when she was brought to the hospital for examination should have gone beyond the detection of her pregnancy and rather checked to ascertain whether there was any signs of penetration.

According to Mr. Justice Gabriel Pwamang, who read the judgement, a woman or a girl could not become pregnant without sexual intercourse and  wondered why the doctor restricted his examination to the pregnancy only and which outcome had resulted in proving Mr. Asare innocent because the DNA test did not link him to fathering the child of the girl who claimed to have been defiled by the appellant and resulting in her pregnancy.

Mr. Eric Asare was tried for defilement at a Tamale high court, convicted and jailed 15 years in hard labour, in 2005, but he consistently maintained his innocence during the trial.

However, a child was born during the trial as a result of the purported defilement.

Aggrieved by his conviction and subsequent sentence, he filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Accra, but the court delivered its judgment on April 4, 2006, and dismissed the appeal.

According to Mr. Asare, the Court of Appeal erred in law by confirming that he impregnated the complainant without any DNA test or any other scientific proof.

He said that the action of the Court of Appeal was unfair and a complete case of miscarriage of justice and further pursued the case by filing another appeal at the Supreme Court, to ensure that his right to fair trial was not jeopardised.
In an interview with the Ghanaian Times, after the Supreme Court’s judgment, an elated Mr. Asare said, he was happy that the honourable judges of the court had come out with the truth and restored his dignity by quashing the criminal record that hung around his neck and gave him sleepless night.

“I am thankful to God and the Supreme Court judges for their wisdom and justice in my case,” he said.

Mr. Asare added, that a lot of innocent persons were still languishing in prison as a result of wrongful sentence by some judges and appealed to human rights activists to come to their aid.

Mr. Francis Xavier Sosu, a human rights lawyer has been instrumental in the acquittal and discharge of the Mr Asare since he took up the fight to ensure justice.

By  Castro Zangina-Tong     

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