Incacerated Gunman's 10-Year Sentence Is Wrong - Snr. Law Lecturer

A Senior Law Lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr. Opoku Adusei has highlighted some mistakes in the sentence meted out to the gunman, Charles Antwi who planned to kill President John Dramani Mahama.

According to the senior law pundit, the judge mistakenly sentenced the gunman with a charge from section 192 (1) of the Criminal and other Offenses Act, 1960 which had earlier been cancelled by the prosecutor and replaced with section 11 of NRCD (9) 1972 as indicated on the charge sheet.

Speaking on Okay Fm’s "Ade Akye Abia" Morning Show, Dr. Opoku Adusei stated that the judge’s role to interrogate the accused person after pleading not guilty was bias especially when he [the accused] had no legal counsel to represent him.

He indicated that the case was a straight liability offense as the accused pleaded not guilty; stressing that everything the accused said after pleading not guilty could not have contradicted the charge against him because his explanation was irrelevant to the charge.

He expressed worry why the judge continued with the case when the prosecutor wanted the court to remand the accused in the BNI custody to assist in further investigation and not for the accused to plead to the offense.

“The full fact of the case attached by the investigator indicated that they wanted to investigate further to find the source of the gun and the intention of the accused person. They wanted the court to remand the accused in the custody of the BNI to assist further investigation,” he stated.

“The judge could have remanded the accused person without even taking the plea but he decided to take the plea. What we heard was that the accused person pleaded not guilty and the judge should not have allowed him to talk afterwards.

Touching on the sentence, Dr. Opoku Adusei pontificated that the 10-year sentence given to the gunman is a punishment for first degree felony, the earlier charge which was cancelled and replaced with section 11 of NRCD (9) 1972 have a maximum sentence of 5 years.

“The first charge they cancelled was first degree felony and the maximum sentence should have been 10 years and so the mistake the judge made was that even though the prosecutor cancelled section 192 (1) in the criminal code and replaced it with NRCD (9), he didn’t realize that under that criminal code, the maximum sentence you can give to a person is 5 years when convicted,” he explained.

He added that “if the conviction is proper, the 10-year sentence the judge gave to the gunman is against the law, if the case is taken to the High Court, the sentence will be reversed”.

“The punishment for the earlier charge they cancelled is 10 years and the judge mistakenly gave the 10-year sentence to the accused person to replace the 5-year sentence,” he emphasized.