Man wrongfully jailed 15 years regains freedom

Charles Twumasi

An accounts clerk of a school in Accra who was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for allegedly defiling a 12-year-old pupil and impregnating her in the process has been acquitted and discharged by the Court of Appeal.

According to the Daily Graphic newspaper, Mr Charles Twumasi, 38, was set free after the three-member panel of the court unanimously held that there was no evidence that linked him to the said defilement and also that some of the evidence was deliberately distorted to aid his conviction.

“We, therefore, set aside the conviction by the trial circuit court, as affirmed by the High Court, on the grounds that the conviction was unreasonable and furthermore, it is not supported, having regard to evidence on record.

“The appellant (Twumasi) is hereby acquitted and discharged and should be released from prison forthwith,” the Court of Appeal ordered.

Twumasi was accused of defiling the 12-year-old girl in September 2012 when she went to pay her feeding fee at the school’s accounts office.

He was on remand and in prison for seven years until he was discharged and acquitted on February 13 this year in a judgment read by Mr Justice Dennis Adjei, who presided over the Court of Appeal panel, with Justices Cecilia Sowah and Amadu Tanko as members.

Twumasi’s lawyer, who argued for his acquittal, is Mr Saani Mohmoud Abdul-Rasheed of the Legal Aid Scheme, while the state was represented by Ms Sefako Batse, a Principal State Attorney.

According to Tuesday’s edition of the newspaper, in its judgement upholding Twumasi’s appeal, the Court of Appeal was of the determination that there was no evidence on record which showed that the alleged defilement by Twumasi in September 2012 actually happened.

Rather, it said, the evidence on record rather proved the victim was defiled in June 2012, a crime which was allegedly committed by a teacher of the school, known as Nash.

On November 8, 2012, the state initiated criminal proceedings at the Accra Circuit Court against Nash and Twumasi for allegedly defiling the 12-year-old girl.

Nash absconded and never appeared before the court to answer the charges levelled against him.

Twumasi, who appeared before the court, pleaded not guilty and denied ever defiling the girl.

Per the facts, as presented by the prosecution, in June 2012, the girl went to use the school’s urinal, and on her way to her classroom, Nash spotted her and instructed her to go and clean the teachers’ washroom.

According to the prosecution, as soon as the girl entered the teachers’ washroom, Nash too went there, locked the door and had sex with her.

He allegedly warned the girl not to disclose what he had done to her to anybody, else she would not see her mother again.

The prosecution added that in September 2012, the girl went to the accounts office to pay her feeding fee, where she met Twumasi, who sat her on his laps and had sex with her.

The facts added that the girl’s sister noticed changes in the girl’s body and reported it to their mother, who took the girl to a clinic on November 1, 2012, where a test conducted on her revealed that she was five months pregnant.

In upholding the appeal, the Court of Appeal also made a determination that there were inconsistencies in the testimonies of the victim, her mother and the headmistress during the trial concerning when Twumasi was mentioned as a suspect.

Source: Daakye Hene

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