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Wrongfully jailed teacher released after serving 6 out of 20-year jail term

A teacher who was wrongfully handed a 20-year jail term has been acquitted and discharged of any wrongdoing after spending 6 years in custody.

Maxwell Bernieh in an interview with Connect FM, narrated the ordeal of how he was wrongfully accused of rape just one month after starting his job.

“I was excited to have secured the job because I had been unemployed for some time. Just one month after being in the school, I was supervising an examination when some officers came to arrest me for no reason. I got to the Police station and I was accused of defiling a student I do not even know. I looked into the face of the girl and I had not even met her before because she was not in my class. I still did not understand what was happening and the case eventually proceeded to court,” he indicated.

Barnieh said he was subsequently jailed despite pleading not guilty at trial.

“Anytime the case is called, the girl in question will not show up and I will be told she is undergoing an operation. I still did not know what I had done to the girl that is making her go through an operation. After about seven months of trial, I was sentenced to 20 years in July 2016. I told the judge I was innocent but she did not listen. She only told me to file an appeal. I was sent to Nsawam,” he narrated.

But according to him, salvation came from private legal practitioner, lawyer Martin Kpebu who took over his appeal and won him his freedom after months of trial at the high court.

“The prosecution, therefore, failed to lead evidence to show that it was the accused person who defiled the victim. Having found that the prosecution failed to prove that the accused person had sexual intercourse with the victim, then it follows that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. This ground of appeal succeeds. With such failure to establish the essential elements of the offense, it follows that the offense charged was not established against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt and he ought not to have been convicted.

“The result is that the appeal succeeds and same is upheld. I hereby set aside the conviction and ultimately the sentence imposed on the appellant herein. The appellant is accordingly acquitted and discharged,” part of the appeal ruling by her ladyship Justice Mary M.E Nsenkyere (Mrs) indicated.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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