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Mona4Reall: Innocent until proven guilty
Mona4Reall: Innocent until proven guilty

Mona4Reall: Innocent until proven guilty

IN our space, you’d be walking with the conviction that you are the most-loved, most cherished and most adored until you catch a case or get entangled in any controversy.

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It is at this moment that you’d come to the stark realisation that, almost everybody has been waiting for that moment to exhibit how they truly feel about you with all the vilification and condemnation.

Mona Faiz Montrage(Mona4Real) is in deep waters; facing what looks like dire indictment by the United States District Court, Southern District of New York. She’s been charged with six(6) counts—conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, money laundering, conspiracy to receive stolen money and receipt of stolen money.

It gets worse!

If found guilty, Mona4Reall shall forfeit to the United States, in accordance with the law—any and all property, real and personal, which constitutes or, is derived from proceeds traceable to the commission of said offenses, including but not limited to a sum of money in US currency representing the amount of proceeds traceable to the commission of said offenses.

At this point; it’s easy for anybody to get sentimental and emotional on the matter but it is crucial for us to realise that based on facts and legal proceedings Mona4Reall is innocent until proven guilty.

The talk is normal

Mona4Reall is a public figure. Even as a socialite, she made the headlines, only to ‘legitimise’ her critical acclaim by parlaying her foray into music, which elevated her reach, fame and popularity.

Candidly, she just wasn’t making the numbers with her music career. She really put in the work; purveying songs, quality videos, mounting high profile stages and winning awards. She was in that business.

When a popular entertainer is entangled in such an alleged crime that is splattered across the international media space, obviously it elicits all manner of chatter and arguments. It comes with the territory of being in the limelight.

However, in the midst of all the talk, it is imperative we exercise some restraint while using condemnatory talk like; “She is a fraudster,” “Young girls should not look up to folks like Mona4Reall,” “She used music as a decoy for her fraudulent deals,” “Why showcase money and luxury you stole,” - so on and so forth.

Innocent until proven guilty

The concept of being innocent until proven guilty is a general principle to the court system across the world. It means that anybody accused of a crime is assumed innocent until the allegations leveled against them are proven.

Article 11 of The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to the law in a public trial at which he/she has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.

The US Attorney refers to the Mona4Reall indictment document as accusations – which reinforce the notion that, when it comes to the law, every accused person is innocent until found guilty.

Like Mona4real’s case, it is easy to condemn an accused person without establishing the facts about the allegations but with instances especially in the US, where many people have been charged and sentenced for crimes they didn’t commit, it is important that the media, analysts and commentators exercise restraint in shaping public opinion with regard to persons charged or accused of committing crimes.

Burden of proof

In legal proceedings, the burden of proof is the standard that determines who wins a case.

In this case of the United States Vs. Mona Faiz Montrage, the US government is accusing the musician of breaking the law, which may culminate in the latter being sentenced to prison or receiving other related penalties.

The burden of proof is also a legal requirement that determines which party has to prove that their case is correct. That party is the prosecutor, which is the US Government, bears the burden of proof and must prove Mona4Reall’s guilt is beyond a reasonable doubt.

The US Government must present affirmative evidence showing the court that Mona4Reall is guilty of the crime she is being accused of to warrant a conviction. In other words, the US Attorney must present compelling arguments and evidence that are enough to alter the accused’s presumption of innocence.

Essentially, if the government fails to present enough evidence beyond reasonable doubt, the court would be mandated to return a non-guilty verdict and Mona4Real may just ‘walk’.

 

You do the crime, you do the time

If the US government presents enough evidence beyond reasonable doubt that would see to the conviction of Mona4Real, then she must do the time – hence, the popular parlance, ‘You do the crime, you do the time.”

If she committed the offenses, then she must face the repercussions that come with such.

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When duly convicted, it paves the way for all manner of commentaries, be it damning, unflattering or disapproving. It would simply mean that, she is facing the consequences of her actions.

Unfortunately, once convicted, she would become a case study—with theories of how some entertainers do shady businesses to front their creative ventures and how the industry fails to portray its actual struggles but would rather have its purveyors project a false imagery.

Once convicted, it would be torrid for anybody to defend the lifestyle and showcase of other entertainers who are living their lives like Mona4Real before her arrest.

 

Due process

Until any form of conviction, it is important for us as Ghanaians to understand the fact that there’s due process in matters like Mona4Real’s and we need to respect that.

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Due process is a legal process in which a suspect is either found guilty or not guilty. The fact that a person has been accused of committing a crime doesn’t necessarily make them guilty. It is also a constitutional guarantee that forbids the government from treating citizens in an unfair manner.

At this stage, it is easy for the media, analysts and commentators to portray the defendant in a way that makes it nearly impossible to believe she’s innocent. Such reporting could sway and influence the decision of judges and juries.

No matter how guilty Mona4Reall appears to be, it’s important for us to have that comprehension that in such matters, the court would follow due process and establish all facts about the allegations before making a decision.

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