A Sekondi High Court, presided over by Justice Dr. Richmond Osei Hwere, has reduced the six year sentence imposed on Joana Krah who claimed she had been kidnapped, but turned out to be a hoax, to five years.
Krah, a resident of Takoradi, was found guilty by a lower court of deceiving public officers and causing publication of false news. She, however, felt the sentence imposed on her was too harsh, and, therefore, proceeded to file an appeal at the High Court.
Her Counsel, Emmanuel Kofi Arthur, argued during the hearing of the appeal that the sentence handed his client was harsh and excessive, and causing hardship to the appellant. His grounds of appeal was that the conviction was not proper and did not support the charge, and that the trial Circuit Court Judge erred when he failed to discharge his client, knowing very well that the charge did not support the facts of the case.
Joana Krah, faked her kidnapping in October, 2021, when she conspired with two other persons to demand GH¢5,000.00 ransom from her adopted father, the police prosecution told the Circuit Court Judge.
Unknown to the father, his daughter was faking the kidnapping and quickly reported the issue to the Takoradi Central Police Command.
The accused showed up the next day when the police had mounted a search for her, only to tell them she was joking with the father.
The police did not accept her story and quickly arraigned her to court where she was charged on two counts – publication of false news with intent to cause alarm, and deceiving of a public officer, and she pleaded guilty.
In passing his sentence, the Circuit Court Judge, Michael Cudjoe Ampadu, said he took into consideration the character of the accused, and the fact that she did not waste the time of the court when she pleaded guilty.
Again, he also took into consideration the fact that the accused had a three years old child.
However, he decided to sentence her to jail to serve as a lesson to others, considering the degree to which the fake kidnapping stories had been reported in Takoradi.
RULING ON APPEAL
In his ruling, the High Court Judge, Osei Hwere, stated that the accused knew her action would result in a police complaint, and that the consequence of her action in raising false alarm and deceiving a public officer was undesirable and foreseeable.
He said the appellant closed her eyes to what the act would cause, and that her intention was clear. This, he argued, was grounds for the conviction. For this reason, the appeal was rejected.
According to the High Court Judge, the trial Circuit Court Judge correctly exercised the conviction, and the sentence was within the sentencing regime. He, however, exercised his discretion by reducing the sentence from six years to five.
From Kwesi Alfred Adams, Sekondi High Court