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Court of Appeal reverses Akuapem Poloo’s 90-day sentence

Source The Ghana Report

The Court of Appeal has reversed Akuapem Poloo’s 90 days jail term and instead slapped her with a GH¢12,000 fine.

The social media diva Rosemond Alade Brown’s appearance at the Court of Appeal comes after an Accra Circuit Court, on 16 April 2021, sentenced her to 90 days for posting nude photos of herself and her seven-year-old son.

The actress was given 90 days for all three charges — publication of obscene materials, engaging in domestic violence, conduct that in any way undermines another person’s privacy or integrity, and engaging in domestic violence namely conduct that in any way detracts or is likely to detract from another person’s dignity and worth as a human being.

All three sentences were to run concurrently.

After the Circuit Court’s ruling, the team led by Andrews Cudjoe Vortia filed a notice of appeal and an application for the stay of the sentence while the appeal case was being determined.

They asked for a more lenient punishment.

Mr Vortia insisted the custodial sentence handed out to his client for posting a nude photo of herself and her seven-year-old son was harsh.

“The mitigating factors in her favour are greater than the aggravating factors. When you consider this offence, it is not rape; it is not murder. It is a misdemeanour in which she could have been dealt with lightly,” he spoke to the media after the judge’s ruling in April.

It appears the ‘simple’ request for a more lenient punishment did not touch the heart of the new judge Ruby Aryeetey, who also dismissed the appeal, thus Tuesday’s appeal hearing.

Madam Aryeetey upheld the Circuit Court’s ruling because the decision “was not manifestly excessive or harsh”.

But a three-member panel of the Appeal’s Court on Wednesday, 15 December 2021, instead, imposed a fine of GH¢12, 000 on the convict.

The three-member panel of the Appellate court presided over by Justice Henry Anthony Kwoffie, held that the 90-year jail term was fair.

However, the court considered the fact that the convict was a single mother to a seven-year-old boy and substituted the custodial sentence with a fine.

She was sentenced to 1000 (GH¢12,000) penalty units on counts one and 500 (GH¢6,000) penalty units each on counts two and three.

The sentences are to run concurrently.

An earlier decision by the Circuit Court judge

On 16 April 2021, an Accra Circuit Court judge Christiana Cann sentenced Poloo to 90 days for posting nude photos of herself and her seven-year-old son.

Delivering her sentence, the judge said there was a need to give such punitive measures to deter people fond of posting such pictures online.

She also expressed concern about how the societal and moral values of the country had fallen as a result of such practice.

“The action of the accused did not only infringe on the rights of the child. It morally corrupted those who saw the post. It also caused the pride and dignity of the country as a whole.

“This court is saddened by the current development of the citizenry posting their nude pictures on the internet and wonder what has become of our values as a country.

“Our morality has degenerated to such bestial levels that the accused person could do what she did. The law will take its full course in this matter today so that others who harbour such traits would be deterred.

“There is no doubt that apart from the canker of rape, defilement, physical assault, the publication of obscene materials is on the increase.

“There is, therefore, the need to uphold our societal values and deal with this canker. The best interest of the child shall be the primary concern of the court,” the judge read.

She then asked two questions she said were critical to the case that the accused Akuapem Poloo failed to do.

Did she ask for the child’s permission before posting the said picture?

Did she respect the child’s rights?

The answer to these two questions was a resounding “No”.

Judge Cann supported her ruling with a scripture, Colossians 3:25, which states, “Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favouritism.”

She also said she considered the fact that the accused Akuapem Poloo was a first-time offender and again a single parent.

READ ALSO : Mummy! Oh Mummy I beg, Akuapem Poloo in tears as court sentences her

Why Akuapem Poloo was dragged to court

The actress posted a picture of herself and her son on his seventh birthday. Rosemond was captured naked, kneeling before the toddler, who was only seen in underpants.

While many criticized the actress over the photo, others jumped to her defence.

The actress later rendered an apology.

Initially, she was granted bail in the sum of GH₵100,000 with four sureties, two to be justified.

The two sureties were ordered to provide proof of ownership of any landed property worth the bail sum.

Facts

The facts of the case are that the complainant Bright Appiah is the Director of Child Rights International Ghana, whereas the accused person is an actress.

On 30 June 2020, the accused person celebrated her son Mohammed Mudair’s seventh birthday, took a nude photograph with her son, and posted the same on her Instagram page, which went viral.

Akuapem Poloo
Akuapem Poloo and son.

 

The prosecution said the accused’s conduct or behaviour undermines privacy or is likely to detract the son’s dignity.

The complainant then petitioned CID Director-General, and the matter was referred to the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU).

The accused was arrested.

On her caution statement to police, she admitted to unintentionally posting the nude picture with her son.

But the text on her post read, “I’m naked in front of you because this is how naked I was when giving birth to you, so in case you find me lying somewhere, don’t pass by, but see me as your mom who brought you to life.”

This, according to the prosecution, indicated that she deliberately posted nude pictures together with her son.

Similar Incidents

In April 2014, a 24-year-old labourer was sentenced to two months imprisonment by the Circuit Court in Accra for posting his ex-girlfriend’s nude pictures on Facebook, a social media platform.

David Dickson Donkoh embarked on the act after his ex-girlfriend had terminated their one-year-old relationship.

According to the complainant, Donkoh had slept with her close friend, hence her decision to end the relationship.

In his bid to show his powers, Donkoh posted the complainant’s nude pictures on Facebook after he had asked her to rescind her decision but to no avail.

He was charged with causing emotional, verbal, and psychological abuse to the victim.

He pleaded guilty, and the court presided over by Sedina Agbemeva, convicted him on his own plea.

Handing down the sentence, the judge noted that the act was a gross violation of the victim’s right to privacy, while it further undermined her dignity.

In July 2019, the Odumase Krobo Circuit Court in the Eastern region presided over by F.Y. Gbeddy jailed a 29-year-old man, Prince Teye, for three years for circulating a nude photograph of his ex-girlfriend on social media.

The convict was charged for “unlawfully” and “intentionally” publishing obscene pictures.

In May 2020, a 24-year-old man was sentenced after nude videos of his girlfriend went viral.

Francis Aggrey, a student of Assin Fosu College of Education, was found guilty of two criminal charges – conspiracy and extortion.

He pleaded guilty to both charges and was convicted on his own plea at the Accra Circuit Court presided over by Emmanuel Marvin Essandoh.

The accused person was sentenced to three years with hard labour by the court on the charge of extortion.

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