Lawyer for the 13 members of the vigilante group, Delta Force, has justified the non-custodial sentence handed the convicts by the Kumasi Circuit Court, contending it would have been unfair to have imprisoned them.
Each of the 13 pro NPP group members were fined GHC1,800 after they pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and rioting Thursday. They will spend 12 months in jail in the event they fail to pay the fine.
They were standing trial for assaulting the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator, George Agyei who was appointed by President Akufo-Addo on grounds that he did not contribute to the victory of the party, hence they cannot work with him.
Charges of assaulting a public officer, conspiracy to assault and causing unlawful damage, which the 13 convicts were initially facing, were dropped by prosecutors on October 10, 2017 on the advice of the Attorney General’s Department.
When they appeared in court on October 19, to answer the two new charges leveled against them, they pleaded guilty following which they were convicted, fined and made to sign a bond to be of good behaviour for a year.
Some people have criticized the sentencing which they feel is not deterrent enough, arguing the convicts should have been given a prison term as against the non-custodian sentencing.
But their lawyer Fredrick Kankam Boadu has defended the sentence on Onua FM Thursday, stating “They are first time offenders and it means that they have to be given a chance because if you imprison them, it will be at the expense of the tax payer”.
“These are able men who can work for the nation so it wouldn’t be fair to imprison them at the expense of the tax payer”, the lawyer explained on Ghana Dadwene.
He said on Ghana Dadwene that the convicts did not waste the court’s time by going through full trial.
He stated “we went into mitigation because their offences were misdemeanor which is the lowest offence and that is why justice has been served in my view”.
Lawyer Boadu admitted that though “controversies have existed [in the case] but in law, courts must excuse itself from the public and controversies…in law, we don’t refer to a public opinion”.
By Kweku Antwi-Otoo|Onua 95.1FM|3news.com|Ghana