The Ho High Court has quashed the 60-year sentence imposed on two students of the Keta Business Senior High School by the Aflao Circuit Court.
This followed a motion on notice for an order of certiorari filed by their counsel, Mr Chris Ackumey, on the grounds that the sentences were harsh, while the court exceeded its jurisdiction in sentencing them.
The two, Nartey Emmanuel, 17, and Dotse Jeff Hope, 20, were arraigned before the circuit court on November 11, 2011 charged with robbery. They pleaded guilty and were subsequently sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment each with hard labour.
The Supervising High Court Judge for the Volta Region, His Lordship Kofi Abada, upheld the grounds of the appeal and subsequently set aside the earlier judgement and further ordered the convicts to be released into the custody of their parents.
According to the facts of the case, about midnight on November 6, 2011, one Martha Senadzu, a seamstress apprentice at Tegbi, was returning from a fun session as part of the Hogbetsotso Festival when the two students pursued her until they caught up with her and ordered her to hand over all valuables on her.
The statement said they threatened to kill her if she did not comply and as a result she got scared and screamed for help.
Dotse was alleged to have slapped her on the cheek and feigned pulling a gun from his pocket and Martha, amidst tears, surrendered her mobile phone, the only thing she had on her.
It said on November 8, 2011, while on her way to Keta, Martha spotted the two students and confronted them but they denied the accusation and a policeman on duty nearby was alerted to arrest them.
A search conducted in Dotse’s room revealed a Samsung cell phone belonging to Martha but which had been seized from her during the attack.
After their conviction and sentencing, Mr Ackumey filed a motion on notice for an order of certiorari to quash the sentence on the grounds that the learned judge exceeded his jurisdiction.
In his statement of case, Mr Ackumey averred that Nartey was a juvenile, while Dotse was a young offender in the eyes of the Juvenile Justice Act 2003.
It said the act imposed an obligation on the prosecution to determine the true ages of the convicts before trial, stressing that that was not done, while the record of proceedings did not show such.
Source: Timothy Gobah/D-Graphic
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