The 33-year-old journalist of pro-government newspaper, The Enquirer, accused of defiling a five-year-old minor in his bridal team after his wedding in February last year, has been freed by an Accra Fast Track High Court.
The accused, Felix Engsalige Nyaaba, a court and crime reporter with the newspaper, was standing trial for allegedly defiling the girl, thirty-four days after the wedding.
Felix was arrested on March 19, 2014 and charged with defiling the girl. His accuser was a neighbour who had sent the girl to charge her mobile phone in Felix’s room.
The charge was later changed to ‘indecent assault’ after the prosecution had failed to produce evidence to sustain the charge of defilement in a court presided over by Ms Sedina Agbemava.
Felix had denied the offence.
However, after full trial, the judge found the Enquirer reporter guilty and on February 27, 2015, convicted Felix to three years’ imprisonment in hard labour.
Unsatisfied with the conviction, Francis Xavier Sosu, counsel for Felix, appealed the conviction of his client.
On Thursday, July 2, 2015, an Accra Fast Track Court presided by Justice R.B. Batu acquitted and discharged Felix of the charges.
Justice Batu in his judgement stated that ‘the learned judge [Ms Agbemava] in her evaluation of the evidence made no reference to the evidence of the police investigator (P.W.4) and the medical doctor (P.W.5).’
‘From the medical officer’s evidence, her finding in the medical report that there was attempted vaginal penetration of the ‘victim’ was induced by a story cooked up by P.W.1. His professional examination and observation proved otherwise,’ the judge said.
Justice Batu stated: ‘From the evidence, grounds [for appeal] a, b and d have been made out. Ground ‘c’ hardly needs any consideration,’ adding that the conviction and sentence of the appellant was clearly against the weight of evidence before the court.
The Fast Track Court judge stated that the ‘conviction and sentence will accordingly be set aside and in their place an acquittal and discharge entered. Appeal accordingly allowed.’
Justice Batu further noted that Felix ‘should not have spent a single day in prison.’
Consequently, Felix on Saturday, July 4, 2015 walked out of the Nsawam Prison as a freeman.
He walked out into the waiting arms of his wife, Mrs Alice Nyaaba, and their one-year-old daughter, Adeline Winemina (God Knows) Nyaaba, after four months in the Nsawam Medium Security Prison.
Adeline spent her first birthday with her father in prison. Felix also spent his 33rd birthday in prison.
Felix Nyaaba said he was happy that he had been released.
He said he wants the Chief Justice to take keen interest in judges who ‘stoop so low’ to deliver questionable judgements.
He reiterated the fact that he was happy that he had been freed after four months in prison, adding, ‘I am a victim of injustice, not a convict.’
By: Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson
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