The four suspects who were referred to the Juvenile Court in connection with the alleged sexual assault at Bantama in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi, have been sentenced to serve in a Senior Correctional Facility for 36 months each.
Three of the suspects were charged with defilement and conspiracy to defile, while the other one was charged with aiding and abetting the crime.
A Social Welfare Inquiry report presented to the court recommended that the suspect who was charged with aiding and abetting, should be given a 12 months’ sentence.
But the Kumasi District Magistrate Court 2 presided over by Her Worship, Mrs. Christian Cann, insisted that all the four suspects serve the same sentence.
Lawyers for the suspects before the ruling, had questioned the Social Welfare Inquiry report when it was presented to the court on the last adjourned date.
The suspects and their relatives could not hold back their tears when they stepped out from the court which was heard in camera.
One of the lawyers for the suspects, YahayaSeidu, described the sentence as “too harsh”, adding that they might appeal the ruling if relatives of the suspects express interest.
“Considering the circumstances, we believe that the sentence was too harsh. All of them are first time offenders and especially because they are juveniles,” he said.
“We put in a plea of mitigation but at the end of the day, the judge with the panel considered that the juveniles should be sent to the senior correction sentence for 3 years. This sentence is the maximum that can be imposed on a juvenile…We were not satisfied with the report and the manner in which it was done. We believe the social welfare did not take their time to do a proper investigation, and came out with the report because the order was made on Monday and on Tuesday the report was served on us. Notwithstanding that, we accepted it,” he added.
“We believe that the judge erred, so if the juvenile’s parents are mindful of coming back to us to file an appeal we believe that the judge should have given a reason why she disagrees with the recommended 12 months sentence to one of the juveniles.”
The Social Welfare Department as part of its report indicated that the suspects lacked proper parental care.
Meanwhile, the police and some officers from the Social Welfare Department have begun processes to take the suspects to the Senior Correctional Facility at Mamobi in Accra.
One of the 5 suspects, 20-year-old Ernest Asare, was jailed last month after a circuit court found him guilty of defilement and conspiracy to defile.
Story: James APPIAKORANG JR, Kumasi, A/R