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SC grants GHS45,000 compensation to teacher wrongfully jailed for defilement

The Supreme Court has declined a GHS7 million compensation package of a teacher who was wrongfully jailed for defiling a 14-year-old in the Northern region.

Instead, the justices of the highest court granted him GHS45,000 for the trauma he had gone through.

According to the Court, Eric Asante could not prove the reasons for which he was demanding the amount.

Some of the reasons he provided the court included mental damages, psychological and emotional trauma and investment losses.

But the seven-member panel also added that a physical look at Asante did not show that he had gone through any mental torture while he was in prison.

The Court, however, granted him a GHS45,000 compensation for the curtailment of his freedoms and ordered that his salary arrears for the last 13 years be paid him.

Asante was acquitted and discharged by the Supreme Court in January 2017, after a DNA test carried out on the baby believed to have come about as a result of the supposed defilement, proved that he was not the biological father.

He was initially found guilty on September 5, 2005, and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour by the Tamale High Court, for defiling one Rubamatu Mohammed.

Asante, who had always maintained his innocence, filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal on October 6, 2006, but it was dismissed.

He then proceeded to the Supreme Court in 2012, where the court ordered for a DNA test to be conducted. He was later discharged and acquitted after serving two-thirds of his jail-term.

But Asante’s lawyer is unimpressed with the court’s ruling.

Victor Opoku said he was disappointed that the court threw out all the claims that we made and awarded him a paltry amount of 45,000. I don’t think that is enough.

“For the State to completely destroy a young person’s life for over 13 years and get away with only GHS45,000 is not enough, it is the actors of the State who were involved in the unlawful conviction of our client who have won today.

“…they managed and succeeded in putting him in and curtailed his life completely, his freedom to move around for 13 years and yet they were not punished for it,” he lamented.

Mr Opoku stressed that the case should have been used to set an example for State actors to know that whenever they act unlawfully against a citizen, it was the State’s purse that suffers and therefore they should act with caution and due process of law.

“On this note I will say that I’m very disappointed,” he added.

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