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General News of Monday, 25 February 2013

Source: Daily Guide

MP's attackers escape jail

THE CASE of three persons, who were standing trial for allegedly causing harm to J.B. Dankwa Adu, current Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa North, ended at an Accra Fast High Court yesterday with a conviction of fines.

The three, Neteley Nettey Yirenkyiwaa, the beleaguered girlfriend of the MP, together with Charles Antwi and Nana Yaw Ampaw, were fined 100 penalty units, which is equivalent to GH¢1,200, or in default spend three years in prison.

Antwi, who was slapped with another charge, was additionally sentenced to a fine of 100 penalty units or in default spend three years in prison.

But the trial judge, Justice Mustapha Habib Logo said the sentence should run concurrently. Antwi was therefore to pay only GH¢1,200.

The Attorney-General’s Department initially charged the three with conspiracy, robbery and causing unlawful harm but the robbery charge was opposed by Kwabena Addo Attuah, Neteley’s counsel and C.K. Mintah, who represented Antwi and

Ampaw.

The lawyers successfully convinced the court that per the testimony of the prosecution witnesses, the prosecution failed to establish the ingredients needed to charge the accused persons with robbery.

The court upheld the defense counsel’s arguments, dropped the robbery charge and retained the conspiracy and causing unlawful harm charges.

The accused spent 15 months in detention until they were granted bail after the robbery charge was dropped, since robbery is one of the offences in which bail is normally denied.

At the time the incident happened at East Legon in Accra in August 2010, the MP, who was also a deputy Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs under the erstwhile Kufuor administration, had lost the Abuakwa North seat in the Eastern region; but he won it in the December 2012 elections after defeating out-going Eastern Regional Minister, Victor Smith.

The facts of the case as given by the police were that Yirenkyiwaa, together with Antwi and Ampaw, conspired to rob the MP, at the East Legon apartment of his girlfriend on August 26, 2010.

According to the police, on the morning of August 26, Ms. Yirenkyiwaa called JB, her estranged boyfriend, to meet her at Protea Hotel. When they met, she asked for financial help from him and they agreed to meet later at her house.

When JB got to her house, he met Yirenkyiwaa outside, who took him into the house. They then proceeded to her bedroom where she undressed him.

The prosecution said after this, Antwi and Ampaw came out of the bathroom where they were hiding and started taking photographs, after which they attacked JB with a knife and took his pair of trousers which contained GH¢1000. 00. The three had pleaded not guilty.

Delivering the judgement, Justice Logo said the court spared them of direct custodial sentence because it considered the fact that the accused persons were young and had been in detention for so long.

On the charge of conspiracy to cause harm, Justice Logo said the prosecution was able to convince the court that the accused persons acted together with a common purpose to cause harm.

The judge said that the accused persons gave contradictory statements to the police and as a result, the court was enjoined to accept JB’s version of events as to how the harm was inflicted on him.

He said anybody in the state in which JB was would naturally resist the taking of photographs and that was why Antwi, in his bid to prevent JB from getting hold of the photos, injured the lawmaker in the process.

“Although the prosecution called as many as 11 witnesses, it was the evidence of PW1 (JB), which is crucial in this case.”

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