The Ofaakor Circuit Court has sentenced a driver to a fine of GH¢960 for driving on the shoulders of the road and carelessly crossing a magistrate and disrespecting her.
Theophilus Nii Armah Okai narrowly escaped a month’s jail term, after the Presiding Judge, Mr Ebenezer Osei Darko, reluctantly reversed his first ruling of one-month imprisonment to a fine of 80 penalty units following persistent appeals from the lawyer of the convict and other lawyers present at the court.
Okai will go to jail for six months in default of paying the GH¢960.00. He pleaded guilty to the counts of driving on the road shoulders and causing danger to other road users, on which he was convicted.
Prosecuting, Chief Inspector Charles Annobil said on April 14, 2022, at about 1400 hours, Okai was driving a Toyota Hilux with registration number GN 2146 – 16 from Cape Coast towards Accra, using the shoulders of the road.
He said on reaching a section of the road at Fetteh Kakraba, he saw vehicles parked ahead of him and decided to join the main road but recklessly crossed a Dodge Rum pickup, being driven by Mrs. Naomi Kuntour, the Magistrate of the Awutu Beraku Court.
In the process, convict made an insulting gesture with his hands at her and drove away, the prosecutor told the court. The Magistrate, however, gave Okai’s registration number to Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ms Agnes Caesar, the Commander of the Kasoa Motor Transport and Traffic Department, who alerted the police personnel on the road and Okai was apprehended the same day.
The judge insisted that he wanted the imprisonment to serve as a deterrent to reckless and insolent drivers, recounting his own experiences.
The lawyer for the convict, Mr. Daniel Kukpalor, quickly went on his feet and appealed to the judge to tamper justice with mercy. With support from other colleague lawyers, he requested a fine in place of the jail sentence, saying his client was remorseful and had made attempts to apologise to the complainant.
“I’m sure he has learnt his lessons, and he is not going to repeat it,” he pleaded. Mr. Osei Darko granted the lawyer’s plea and reversed the jail sentence to a fine. He then directed the convict to send the message to his colleague drivers to be careful and considerate on the road.