Teacher compensated for wrongful imprisonment


The Supreme Court has awarded compensation of GH₵45,000 to Eric Asante, a teacher who was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for 13 years for defilement.

Mr. Asante made claims including, but not limited to, average loss of salary for 13 years, income from part time teaching for 13 years, income from extra classes for 13 years, compensation for loss of business investment, loss for social and lifetime achievement, and mental and psychological anguish.

The Court was of the view that the Appellant did not evidentially satisfy all but the claim for average loss of salary for 13 years.

The court awarded compensation of GH₵3,180 for each years of the 13 years which amounted to GH₵ 41, 340 and was rounded up to GH₵45, 000.

This was to be paid by the Government of Ghana in addition to the salary arrears for the time he was in jail.

In September, 2005, Mr. Eric Asante who was then a teacher was sentenced to 15 years by a Tamale High Court for allegedly defiling his student who was 14 years at the time.

Mr. Asante appealed the decision of the High Court but his appeal was dismissed.

He then proceeded to the Supreme Court and in his application requested that a DNA test be taken.

A unanimous decision on 26th January, 2017, by a five-member panel held that the DNA test proved that Mr. Asante was not the biological father of the baby and, therefore, he could not have been responsible for the pregnancy of the victim.

According to the Court, apart from the pregnancy, the Prosecution in the trial that led to the conviction, failed to present any other evidence that the alleged victim had been defiled by Mr Asante.

It further held that the so-called victim of the defilement, by lying that the teacher had impregnated her, was dishonest and, therefore, her testimony was deliberately false.

The five-member panel was presided over by Mr Justice Anin Yeboah. The other members were Mr Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Mr Justice Sule Gbadegbe, Mr Justice Gabriel Pwamang and Mr Justice Yaw Appau.

In an interview with Counsel for the Appellant, Mr. Victor Opeke, he said that he was disappointed that the compensation was not good enough to serve as a deterrent to other public service actors who cause the State to lose huge sums of money in compensating innocent convicts.

Source: GhanaJustice/F.Kyeremateng