12 June 2012

Ghana: Amina 'Yutong' Freed

Following the failure of the prosecution to prove its case against Amina Mohammed of the controversial Yutong bus armed robbery and mass rape incident, an Accra Circuit Court yesterday, acquitted and discharged the accused person of all the charges leveled against her.

The accused person, who, in October 2010, alarmed the country through an Accra-based radio station over an alleged armed robbery and mass rape incident on a Bawku-bound Yutong bus, was set free after almost two years of trial by the state.

The 24-year-old hairdresser, on that fateful day, narrated that armed robbers attacked passengers on the bus and forced some male passengers on the vehicle to have sex with female passengers, including a father who was made to rape his 14-year-old daughter.

According to the court presided over by Mrs. Patience Mills-Tetteh , after calling eight witnesses, the prosecution was unable to establish the guilt of the accused person over the charges of causing fear and panic and deceit of public officer leveled against her.

The court, in its judgment, mentioned that what the accused person said was just an exaggerated rumor, which she was making to her family, but was taken up by the media, adding that the accused person did not have the capacity to disseminate the rumour without the help of the media.

The court further stated that the accused person, as an individual, did not organise any press conference to broadcast the rumour, but the media gave the platform and could not be charged with causing fear and panic in the country.

Regarding the charge of "deceit of public officer" leveled against the accused person, the court revealed that there was no proof that the accused person's statement could cause deceit.

In view of these loopholes on the part of the prosecution, the court upheld the application of no case submitted by the defense counsel.

The accused person was standing trial on two counts of causing panic and fear, as well as deceit of public officer. She had pleaded not guilty to all the charges leveled against her.

The state had indicated to the court that on Oct 26, 2010, on Adom FM, a private radio station in Tema in the Greater Accra Region, Amina Mohammed was on the airwaves, where she said she was travelling with her mother and three children on a Yutong bus with registration number GN 263-10 to the North.

The prosecution told the court that the accused person, who resides in Tema in the Greater Accra Region, said on the airwaves that the bus was attacked by armed robbers on the highway, during which the robbers forced the men on the bus at gunpoint to rape female passengers.

She further alleged that a father was forced to rape his 14-year-old daughter, adding that the passengers were robbed of their belongings and most of the females on board were also raped by the armed robbers.

The prosecution told the court that following the narration on the airwaves, several radio stations picked up the issue, which led to causing extensive fear and panic among the people.

The prosecution also told the court that on Oct 12, 2010, the driver of the Yutong bus lodged a complaint at the Ejisu police station, that his bus containing 47 passengers was attacked by armed robbers at Kubease in the Ejisu Municipality, but denied that any mass rape of the passengers took place.

The prosecution noted that it was the statement of the driver that en route to Bolgatanga he encountered a scenario where armed robbers had blocked the road with logs, but managed to drive through and escaped armed attacks on the bus, which resulted in damage to the windscreen of the vehicle.

The driver was said to have gone to the Ejisu Police Station to report the incident. He spent 30 minutes at the station and left for his destination. He has since arrived safely, the court was told.

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