“Right from the beginning of this case, there was no evidence to show I had defiled the girl, except for the pregnancy they claimed was a result of the sexual intercourse. It has been over 10 years of pain and suffering for a crime I did not commit.”
Source: Daily Graphic Ghana - There were heavy sighs of relief from friends and family members at the Supreme Court last Tuesday when a DNA test ordered by the court proved that a man who had served over 10 years in prison for defiling and impregnating a 14 year-old girl was after all not the biological father of the child who was born out of the pregnancy.
The ex-convict, Eric Asante, was released from prison in September, this year based on good conduct after serving two thirds of his jail term at the Nsawam Medium Security Prisons.

He was on September 5, 2005 sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with hard labour by the Tamale High Court, after being found guilty of defiling one Rubamatu Mohammed, which led to the birth of the child.

Not satisfied, Mr Asante, who had consistently denied having had an affair with Rubamatu, appealed against his conviction and the Court of Appeal on October 6, 2006 dismissed the appeal.

While serving his sentence, Mr Asante in 2012 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 not even with the intervention of the Northern Regional Police Commander.

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 Tuesday, Mr Justice Yaw Appau 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.

Mr Justice Appau ordered the Registrar of the court to make copies of the results available to the parties in the case.

Mr Kwami Boni, counsel for Mr Asante, told The Mirror in an interview that although the result had partially vindicated his client, he was preparing to appeal for his exoneration and reinstatement.

“We lost at the Appeal Court because we did not have the evidence to show that Eric was truly innocent. That is why we appealed to the apex court to give an order for the DNA. Now that the coast is clear, we can move on with our appeal and depending on the outcome, we will move to the next stage,” he explained.

Although Mr Asante has served part of his prison term, he insists that his conviction and sentence was without basis because the facts and evidence presented in court when he was arrested did not warrant a conviction.

He explained that although the relatives of Rubamatu claimed that her pregnancy was a result of a sexual intercourse between him and the girl, he did not have any such relationship with her.

He told The Mirror that he believed he was wrongfully sentenced for a crime he did not commit.

“Right from the beginning of this case, there was no evidence to show I had defiled the girl, except for the pregnancy they claimed was a result of the sexual intercourse. It has been over 10 years of pain and suffering for a crime I did not commit,” he added.


Mr Asante said although he was happy the results had partly exonerated him, he was sad that 10 years of his adult life had been used to pay for a crime he did not commit.

“It saddens my heart that all these years have been wasted. I have suffered for nothing and it has cost me so much,” he added.

Mr Asante, who was a teacher before his incarceration, said he was hoping the Ghana Education Service would reinstate him if he was acquitted.

“I would like to pursue a degree and subsequently study law at the Ghana School of Law,” he said.
 


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