Josephine Panyin Mensah
BUT FOR her current pregnancy, Josephine Panyin Mensah, the Takoradi woman alleged to have feigned pregnancy and claimed her baby was taken away by her kidnappers, would have been jailed three years by the Takoradi Circuit Court ‘A’.
This was after the court convicted the accused on her second charge of publication of false news with the intent to cause fear and panic contrary to section 208 of the Criminal Offences Act, even though she pleaded not guilty.
It would be recalled that before the court gave its final ruling yesterday, it ordered Josephine to go for a pregnancy test, which proved positive.
Though the number of months the accused has been pregnant was not indicated, it was visible that the lady was pregnant.
The court, presided over by Michael Ampadu, told the accused that she would have been given the offence’s maximum jail term of three years if the pregnancy test did not prove positive.
“I would have sentenced her to three years’ imprisonment to serve as a deterrent to people who intend to commit similar offence. Because the emotional trauma she put Ghanaians into was intense.
“She went for a pregnancy test at the European Hospital in Takoradi on November 15, 2022, which confirmed that the accused is pregnant,” the judge disclosed.
He then explained that the law does not allow pregnant women to be sent to jail, and therefore sentenced the accused to a fine of 600 penalty units or GH¢7,200.00 to be paid within 14 days.
The court however, discharged the accused on the first count of deceiving public officer contrary to section 251(B) of the Criminal and Other Offences Act.
It explained that an accused is guilty of the offence when the complainant in a case is a public officer who is alleged to have been deceived while carrying out his or her duties.
The court indicated that in this particular case, the facts indicated that the complainant was not a public officer but the husband, Michael Simons.
The judge said the deceit was therefore directed at the husband who is not a public officer, adding “So she is discharged on count one.”
Facts of Case
On September 16, 2021, at about 4.05pm, Michael Simons of Columbia, Takoradi, who is the husband of the accused, informed the police that his wife who was 10 months pregnant and lived with her mother, Agnes Essel, left home for a health walk but could not return.
According to the mother, at about 3:30pm, same day, an unknown caller called her on MTN number 0599601438 and she only heard the voice of accused crying that she had been kidnapped and taken to an unknown location.
In the course of investigations, the police discovered that the said number called from Agona Nkwanta in the Ahanta West District and was registered in the accused person’s own name.
Police trailed the number there but did not find the accused.
On September 21, 2021, at about 11:15am, while a massive search was in progress, police had intel which indicated that accused had been found at Axim, the Nzema East Municipality of the region.
The police in Axim was informed and the accused was conveyed from the premises of the Jehovah Witnesses Kingdom Hall to Axim Government Hospital for treatment.
The accused later indicated that she bought a pregnancy prosthetics, popularly called silicon belly, which she was wearing to make her look pregnant.
According to Josephine Panyin Mensah, she bought the silicon belly at the Takoradi Market Circle at GH¢30.00 but threw it into the bush while on the Takoradi-Agona Nkwanta trunk road when she was faking her kidnapping.
The doctors who conducted examination on the accused at the Axim Government Hospital told police that they did not notice any postpartum sign.
FROM Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi