In Takoradi in the Western Region, Josephine Panyin Mensah, the woman at the centre of the fake kidnapping and pregnancy case has been saved from going to jail.
She has been found guilty of publication of false news and has been fined GH¢7,200.
In its judgement, the court acquitted her on the charge of deceit of public officer.
On the second count, which is publication of false news, a misdemeanour, which makes one liable to a sentence of 3 years in jail, the court said a pregnancy test which was done on November 15, 2022 has proved positive that Josephine was pregnant at the moment.
The law says you can’t sentence a pregnant person to prison hence I cannot sentence you to 3 years but to fine you 600 penalty units which is GH¢7200, the judge said.
Josephine Panyin Mensah was found guilty of a misdemeanour and liable to 600 counts, which is 3 years imprisonment.
Josephine Panyin Mensah was charged with two counts of deceiving a public officer contrary to section 251 (B) of the Criminal office’s Act as amended by Act 1035, 2020 and Publication of false news with intent to cause fear and panic contrary to section 208 sub section 1 of the Criminal Offences Act.
While reading his judgment, His Worship Michael Kwodjoe Ampadu, the Presiding Judge of the Takoradi Habour Circuit court A, said there were no grounds to convict her on count one which is deceiving a public officer since her husband is not a public officer.
“The grounds for the first count of deceiving a public officer cannot be supported by the law. The accused didn’t tell the truth that she was pregnant, but the prosecution didn’t prove that this untruth was told by the accused.
"The deceit was also directed at the husband and not the police. The husband is not a public official, therefore nobody can tell me that she is guilty on this count”, the judge said.
On the second count which is publication of false news, His Worship Michael Kwodjoe Ampadu, said he wanted to sentence her to the 3-year maximum term to send a strong message to the public, but the law also disallows the sentencing of a pregnant woman to prison terms, hence the GH¢7,200 fine.
“It is the police who published the false news, but at the instance of the accused. Until the police found her, the police knew nothing about the pregnancy but were only looking for a missing person. The publication was made by you through your confession statements. The court convicts you on the second count, which is publication of false news, a misdemeanour which makes one liable to a sentence of not less than 3 years. However, the pregnancy test which was done on 15th November 2022 at Takoradi Hospital proved positive.
The law says you can’t sentence a pregnant person to prison hence I cannot sentence you to 3 years but to fine you 600 penalty units which is GH¢7,200,“ he added in his judgment.
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