General News of Thursday, 26 January 2017
Source: Graphic online
The Supreme Court has acquitted and discharged a 36-year-old man who was wrongfully jailed for defiling and impregnating a 14-year-old student.
This was after a DNA test carried out on the child (now 12 years) believed to be the result of the defilement proved that Asante was not the father.
In September 2005, Asante was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour by the Tamale High Court after he was found guilty of defiling and impregnating the student, Rubamatu Mohammed.
He was however released from prison in September 2015 based on good conduct after serving two thirds of his jail term at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons.
Acquitted and discharged
In a ruling Thursday, the Supreme Court held that a new DNA evidence had proven that Asante was not responsible for the pregnancy.
In view of this, the court held that Asante’s conviction by the High Court was not supported by any substantial evidence.
Asante’s victory followed an intervention by the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), who approached human rights lawyer, Francis Xavier Sosu to intervene in the matter.
The GCGL paid the legal and filling fees throughout the case.
On September 5, 2005, a Tamale High Court sentenced Asante to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour after the court found him guilty of defiling one Rubamatu Mohammed, which led to the birth of the child.
Asante, who had consistently maintained his innocence, in October 2006 appealed against his conviction but that appeal was dismissed.
In 2012, he went to the Supreme Court and the court granted him leave to file a notice of appeal against his conviction.
The notice of appeal was followed by an application for an order for the conduct of a DNA test on the child.
The Supreme Court accepted the application and accordingly ordered Rubamatu to make her child available for the DNA test initially at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.
The court order was served and received on Rubamatu’s behalf by her aunts, Juliet Tinjina and Gladys Abokokpa, who were then taking care of Rubamatu’s child in Tamale.
Although the court gave eight weeks within which the test should be conducted, the family refused to bring the child to Accra as ordered by the court.
Following the intransigence of the child’s family, the Supreme Court on February 11, 2015 further ordered Juliet Tinjina and Gladys Abokokpa to make the child, who was under their care, available for the DNA test, this time at the Police Forensic Unit.
Summarising the report from the Forensic Laboratory of the Police Hospital at the court’s sitting on November 17, 2015, the judge said the result of the test excluded Mr Asante of having any biological relations with the 10-year-old boy who was alleged to be the outcome of the defilement.