BY MUNTALLA INUSAH | firstname.lastname@example.org
THE FOUNDER and General Overseer of International Godsway Church, Bishop Daniel Obinim, and two of his associate pastors have been convicted to a fine of GH¢12, 000.00 for assaulting two teenagers in public.
Bishop Obinim, pastors Kingsley Baah and Solomon Abraham all changed their respective statements from not guilty to guilty with explanation prior to their sentencing.
In court yesterday, Bishop Obinim was due to continue with his evidence in defence but told the court that he and his pastors wanted to change their plea. When the charges were re-read to them, they pleaded guilty with explanation.
The Circuit Court, presided over by Her Honour Mrs Abena Oppong Adjin-Doku, sentenced Bishop Obinim to a fine of 400 penalty units (a penalty unit is GH¢12). The fine, thus, sums up to GHc4,800.00 in default of which he will serve a six-month jail term.
His two accomplices — Baah and Solomon — were each fined 300 penalty units which translates into GH¢3,600 in default of which they will serve four months each in prison.
All three have also been ordered to sign a bond of good behaviour for 12 months in default of which they would serve three months’ custodial sentence.
The court, in sentencing the accused persons, took into consideration the plea for mitigation, the length of time and resources wasted in the matter.
Lawyer Ralph Adusei Poku, counsel for the accused person, while pleading for mitigation, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy to prefer a fine to custodial sentence.
According to him, the accused persons had shown remorse as they come to terms with the offence that they had committed.
He said the offence was a misdemeanour and that the matter was a father-and-children affair. The only problem, he said, was with the venue where the incident occurred.
Counsel drew the court’s attention to the fact that the victims were still living with the accused head pastor and he was taking care of them despite the negative publicity the accused person had received.
According to the counsel, punishing children who go astray was “part of our culture” and failure to discipline them would be wrong.
The counsel said the accused person had taken care of the boy and the girl for well over 15 years and takes care of them morally, physically and financially.
He invited the court to look at the humanitarian aspect of the case.
He told the court that since the accused persons were arrested, they had been going through torrid times with the police and that was why they initially wanted to prove their case.
He submitted that the accused persons were ready to pay the price for their offence, hence the decision to change their plea.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Appiosornu, who was holding brief for DSP George Amega, raised no objection except to draw the attention of the court to the defence counsel’s justification of the incident.
He indicated that they had left the matter in the hands of the court to exercise its discretion.
Bishop Obinim and his men were dragged before the court for allegedly assaulting two adopted children in the presence of his congregation — a 14-year-old girl and a-16-year-old boy, who lived with him.
He is said to have committed the act with two of his pastors, Kingsley Baah and Solomon Abraham. The two were charged with abetment.
They were on a GH¢10,000 bail each until judgement was given yesterday, Wednesday, September 26, 2018.