29 November 2012

Ghana: Businesswoman Convicted for Child Stealing

An Accra Circuit Court has convicted a-forty-three-year-old businesswoman for stealing a five and half months old baby, under the pretext of blackmailing a Switzerland based mechanic.

The court noted that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt, as it acquitted and discharged the accused person, Celestine Owusu and her accomplice, on the count of conspiracy to commit crime.

Meanwhile, the jail sentence expected to be slapped on the convict for the offence of child stealing, has been deferred to February 11, 2013, as the court further ordered that the convict be mentally examined.

Celestine Owusu, who once had a brief sexual affair with the complainant, claimed to have been impregnated by him, when he gave his apartment to her free of charge.

The convict conspired with her daughter, Portia Owusu Annor, 21, to lure the complainant into accepting the paternity of the child.

The court, presided over by Mrs. Patience Tetteh-Mills, in her judgment recalled that Dr. Paul Owusu Baah of the Tema Women's Hospital in his testimony to court noted that there was no baby born on the said date that the accused person claimed to have had the baby.

The court continued that Celestine once visited him at his office, requesting for a forged document, indicating that she had the said child in the hospital, but he refused.

The presiding judge further indicated that the report of the DNA test ordered, exempted the accused person and the complainant, who are the supposed parents of the baby.

The facts are that during October 2006, the convict, who is a mother of the second accused person, went and rented one of the complainant's stores at Spintex road.

According to the Prosecutor, ASP Mary Agbozo, around that same period, she pleaded with the complainant that she had been ejected from her house, so that he the complainant should assist her with a room.

"The complainant then offered her one of the rooms in his house at Batsona for free. During the same month, the complainant had sexual affairs with the convict, after which he went back to Switzerland in November 2006.

A month later, the complainant came back to Ghana and a misunderstanding ensued between them, which finally ended the relationship. On June 1, 2009, the complainant served the first accused person and other tenant in the house with a letter of ejection", the prosecutor told the court.

She told the court, as a result, that the convict started raising allegation that she has been impregnated by the complainant and that the complainant intensely disagreed to it.

ASP Agbozo further noted that the convict sent the matter to the district and juvenile court, Accra, where the court tried the case in the absence of the complainant and ordered that the convict could use some of the complainant's stores to rent and use the proceeds to care for the pregnancy.

Furthermore, the convict alleged that she delivered on January 2010 and insisted that the complainant was the biological father of the child, which she named as Ernest Nana Nhyira Nyamekye Opoku, aged five and a half month, but the complainant again objected being the father of the child, as a result of which the court ordered for a DNA test to be conducted in order to ascertain whether or not he is the father.

"Upon this, DNA test was conducted at the MEDILAB Ghana Limited on April 1, 2010, and the results excluded both the complainant and the first accused person being the biological parents of the child.

In June 2010, the department of social welfare had information that the first accused person was maltreating the child and tasked the anti-human trafficking unit to assist and rescue the child", the prosecution stated.

The Prosecutor emphasized that the convict was arrested and during investigations, she stated that she attended the antenatal at La General Hospital from May 2010, and delivered at Tema Women's Hospital.

She said during investigation, report from La General Hospital indicated that on December 17, 2009, the convict reported at their out patient department with General depression and was asked to see a gynecologist at the hospital, because she claimed to be pregnant but left the hospital and was never seen again.

She mentioned that report from Tema Women's Hospital also indicated that the convict reported at the hospital on December 30, 2009, with a complaint of infertility for 18 years, adding that she was admitted, but on the third day she asked permission to go home and see her baby sitter who had to travel.

"She returned in the evening of the same day with a baby boy and disclosed to the doctor that the boy was her adopted son and requested for him to be circumcised, which was done and she left.

Investigations also disclosed that the second accused person told the police that she always accompanied for mother to the antenatal and even at the Tema Women's Hospital, she was present when her mother delivered", the Prosecutor added.

ASP Agbozo recounted that in June 2010, after Celestine Owusu had been granted police enquiry bail, she went and pleaded with the doctor in-charge of the Tema Women's Hospital to forge documents to support her claim that she delivered at his hospital, but the doctor refused.

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