When Felix Nyaaba had his wedding in February 2014, the bridal team included five flower girls. Thirty-four days after the wedding, Felix was accused of defiling one of them. She was five years.
Felix was sentenced to three years in prison for indecent assault and spent four months in the Nsawam Medium Security Prison.
Felix Engsalige Nyaaba, a court and crime reporter with The Enquirer newspaper, today (Saturday July 4, 2015) walked out of the Nsawam Prison as a freeman.
He walked out into the waiting arms of his wife, Alice Nyaaba, and their one-year-old daughter, who spent her first birthday with her father in prison. Felix also spent his 33rd birthday in prison.
Felix hugs his wife and child
Felix Nyaaba’s lawyer, Francis Xavier Sasu, who described his incarceration as injustice, was also present at the Nsawam Prison to facilitate his release.
Felix was arrested March 19, 2014 and charged with defiling the five-year-old girl. His accuser was a neighbour who had sent the girl to charge her mobile phone in Felix’s room.
The charge was later changed to “indecent assault” after police investigator failed to produce evidence to sustain the charge of defilement.
The 33-year old reporter maintained he was innocent. All the prosecution witnesses failed to produce a single evidence to the effect that the girl was indecently assaulted, according to Lawyer Francis Xavier Sosu.
The medical doctor who examined the “victim,” Doctor Mary Manu of the Pentecost Hospital in Madina, told the court the reddened vagina of the girl was of not defilement.
Her evidence in court as prosecution witness contradicted the medical report she had written. This is what she said in court:
“The cause of an inflammation in a toddler as I will say it is more of infection. You can get infection and it will be inflamed because when you get an infection, especially in the adult, there [is an] itch, so when it itches, you will rub or scratch. When you scratch, you get redness. So it can be a lot of infection but mostly, it is bacterial infection, like valve vaginitis candidiasis.”
Further cross-examination by the lawyer for the accused, as recorded by the court, proved that the doctor’s report could not be relied upon.
“Q: I want to suggest that the entire report that you actually generated was influenced by the kind of emotions with which the mother who is the complainant came to you.”
“A: Most probably, because the mother gave all the information. The child did not talk, so she was worried and kept saying all that happened XXX.”
“Q: Finally I suggest to you that very involuntarily, you were influenced by the mother to turn up the medical report and for that reason, this court cannot rely on that report.
“A: Yes, my Lord.”
On February 27, 2015, however, an Accra Circuit Court presided over by Justice Sedina Agbemava convicted Felix Nyaaba to thirty-six (36) months imprisonment in hard labour.
On Thursday July 2, 2015, an Accra Fast Track High Court presided by Justice R.B. Batu acquitted and discharged Felix of the charges.
Justice R.B. Batu in his judgment stated that “the learned judge [Justice Sedina Agbemava] in her evaluation of the evidence made no reference to the evidence of the police investigator (P.W.4) and the medical doctor (P.W.5).”
“From the medical officer’s evidence, her finding in the medical report that there was attempted vaginal penetration of the “victim” was induced by a story cooked up by P.W.1. His professional examination and observation proved otherwise,” the judge said.
“From the evidence, grounds [for appeal] “a”, “b” and “d” have been made out. Ground “c” hardly needs any consideration. The conviction and sentence of the appellant was clearly against the weight of evidence before the ourt. The conviction and sentence will accordingly be set aside and in their place an acquitted and discharge entered. Appeal accordingly allowed.”
He said Felix Nyaaba “should not have spent a single day in prison.”
Felix Nyaaba said he was happy that he had been released. He wants the Chief Justice to take keen interest in judges who “stoop so low” to deliver questionable judgement.”
He is, however, happy that he is free after four months in prison.
“I am a victim of injustice, not a convict,” he said.