Crime & Punishment of Tuesday, 10 April 2012
The Ghana Chapter of Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF Ghana), has expressed disappointment at an Accra High Court ruling that quashed the 10-year-jail term imposed on Prophet Nana Kofi Yerenkyi, Head Pastor of Jesus Blood Prophetic Ministry.
He was sentenced by the Domestic Violence Court for defiling his 10 year-old daughter.
A statement issued by WiLDAF-Ghana in Accra, copied to the GNA on Tuesday said, even though the judgement was not readily available for detailed comments, it was worrisome that with a record of 1,176 reported cases of defilement from the Domestic Violence Victims Support Unit’s 2011 data, State institutions mandated to protect children were not performing optimally.
It said, the apparent lack of seriousness on the part of the prosecution's evidence in their inability to adduce convincing evidence and not showing up in court was a great setback for combating gender based violence in general and child sexual abuse in particular.
Furthermore, the outcome of the case was a disincentive for reporting cases of abuse, and particularly a bad signal to children regarding their safety and protection.
The statement said implications of the outcome of this case on the 10 year-old girl were varied and could not be over emphasised.
“First, her relationship with the father, who should provide guidance and care, is marred, secondly, she comes up against an entire Church that is likely to ostracise her and thirdly, her academic performance in school may be affected. She may withdraw from engaging in social activities in and outside school and in the worst case scenario, suicidal tendencies cannot be ruled out."
The statement said WiLDAF-Ghana therefore, supported the clarion call by the Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC), Child Rights Activists and other Civil Society Organisations to the State to appeal against the High Court’s decision and recommended psycho-social care and support for the victim.
WiLDAF Ghana is a Pan African non-governmental women’s rights organisation committed to the promotion and protection of women and children’s rights.**