Obinim’s flogged victims are adults. Lawyer tells court

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson & Lisa Axelsson
Bishop Daniel Obinim
Bishop Daniel Obinim

Lawyer for Bishop Daniel Obinim has told the Accra Circuit Court that the two people flogged by Bishop Obinim, during a church service are not teenagers but adults.

Mr Raphael Poku-Adusei made this known at the Accra Circuit Court yesterday during the hearing of a case in which Bishop Obinim and two of his pastors have been accused of physically abusing the victims.

According to him, the male and female victims recently gave statements to the police indicating that they were adults and not teenagers aged 16 and 14 respectively as was stated in the charges levelled against the Bishop and his pastors.

“I am reliably informed that the victims had gone to the police to give a further statement that they are not minors but rather adults,’’ he said.

Bail

Bishop Obinim, Pastor Kingsley Baah and Pastor Solomon Abraham were each granted bail in the sum of GH¢ 10,000, with one surety.

Obinim is facing charges of physical abuse contrary to the Domestic Violence Act (732), while the two pastors have been charged with abetment of crime.

In case it turns out that the victims are indeed adults, the charges levelled against Bishop Obinim and the two pastors would be dropped.

The prosecution would then have to either file fresh charges against the accused persons or stop pursuing the case altogether.

Prosecutor

The prosecutor, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) George Amegah, however, informed the court that he was not aware of the revelation made by counsel for the accused persons.

He,  however indicated his intention to amend the charges if it turned out to be true.

“I will link up with the investigator to ascertain the truth. In that case I will make the necessary amendments,’’ he said.

Medical report

At yesterday’s sitting, Bishop Obinim was absent, a situation that led to a heated argument between his lawyer and the prosecutor.

Mr Poku-Adusei informed the court that his client was absent due to sickness.

He, therefore, presented a medical report on Bishop Obinim’s condition to the court.

DSP Amegah, however, prayed the court to give him a copy of the medical report to ascertain its veracity.

“Furnish us with a copy of the report to investigate its authenticity,’’ he said.

The request by the prosecutor was, however, vehemently opposed by Mr Poku-Adusei.

He argued that it was not the place of the prosecution to investigate whether a claim by his client was true or false.

Counsel explained that it was the court that had the right to direct an investigation into the authenticity of his client’s medical report.

“It is not the prosecution that will direct the court what to do. Its duty is to prosecute. It is only the court that can direct the police to investigate the report,’’ he argued.

The court, presided over by Mrs Abena Oppong Adjin-Doku, ordered Bishop Obinim to file the medical report at the court.

The case was adjourned to January 26, 2016.

Facts

The facts of the case are that the alleged incident was reported to the police by a legal practitioner.

The prosecution said the two victims, aged 16 and 14, were Bishop Obinim’s adopted children.

On August 17, 2016, the prosecution explained, during a church service, “Bishop Obinim claimed he had a revelation from God that the two victims had been engaged in premarital sex, resulting in a pregnancy.’’

Claim

It added that Bishop Obinim announced that “he had been directed by the Holy Spirit to chastise them in front of the whole congregation”.

“He immediately subjected the two victims to serious beatings with his black leather belt, in the full glare of the congregation,’’ it said.

According to the prosecution, Bishop Obinim was assisted to indulge in the act by Pastor Baah and Pastor Abraham.

“Pastor Baah held the girl and prevented her from running away, while Bishop Obinim continued to beat her. When she could not bear the pain anymore, she sought refuge with Bishop Obinim’s wife, Mrs Florence Obinim,’’ it explained.

It added that Pastor Abraham brought the girl back for Bishop Obinim to continue with the beating.

“Bishop Obinim, assisted by the two pastors, continued to physically abuse the two teenagers till they were satisfied before releasing them,’’ the prosecution said.