The young man in his thirties stood in court. His handsomeness was blunted by life’s hardships. Hardened, he was standing trial for possession of “weed”.
The police believed he should be jailed for dabbling in narcotic substances. He stood in the docket to fight for his freedom, insisting he did not sell “wee”.
The dock that hosted the suspected criminal was the same dock that was to host a respected bishop of Lighthouse Chapel International, Bishop Kwame Ampofo, once chairman of the Ghana Charismatic Bishop’s Conference.
The Ghana Police Service had charged Bishop Kwame Yirenkyi Ampofo with offensive conduct. The bishop had posted on Facebook asking his followers to state what some six infamous biblical characters who rebelled against God and his anointed servants have in common. The post had an image of the six pastors and bishops who had resigned from Lighthouse and sued the church.
The response of his friends was overwhelmingly the same – “death” and “execution.”
Alarmed, the six former Lighthouse bishops and pastors filed a complaint with the police indicating that the post amounts to death threats. The case has gone to trial.
“The Republic vs Kwame Ampofo”, the court clerk called the case at about 11 am. A few faces turned around to scan the room for the accused. But not his lawyer, Richard Kwame Normanyo.
He knew that Bishop Kwame Ampofo was not in court, and so he stood up to tame the expectation of the court. “With the greatest of respect, my Lady, the accused person is currently indisposed,” he said.
The lawyer wore his beard almost Middle-Eastern, the new fad these days. His voice was strong, with an air of a man addressing Rome’s Colosseum. Thick-faced, he kept a ready-to-fight countenance in court.
He was the same man who caused a scene when the police invited his client, Bishop Kwame Ampofo, to a meeting after the six former bishops and pastors had reported his Facebook post.
He was so furious during that meeting held in the office of the director of the Cybercrime unit that he had to be walked out to cool off in the corridor. “Go to court,” he had dared the complainants.
And that was where they all were now–in a court of law–presided over by Her Ladyship, Evelyn Asamoah. Three standing fans, hinged to the wall on the left and right and another standing in the center facing the judge worked hard to keep Evelyn Asamoah’s body at room temperature.
The lawyer for the accused, Richard Normanyo, explained to the judge that he was quite surprised that the case was in court. This is because he had been told by the police that the case was closed and the police would not be pressing charges.
“Only for the accused to receive a text message indicating that he is expected to appear before the Kaneshie District Court,” he said.
The lawyer said his client was “ready to come to court to stand trial, but we are respectfully praying the court to grant a one-month adjournment to enable him to recover fully.”
As the prosecutor, Inspector Isaac Babayi, rose to point out the need for proof of the accused’s state of health, the lawyer pulled out an excuse duty form.
It was from St. Kathryn Mission Hospital, formerly Lighthouse Mission Hospital.
The excuse duty form was dated April 19, 2022, two days ago. It is to expire in seven days, on April 26, 2022.
The prosecutor protested the request for a one-month adjournment. Inspector Isaac called for a speedy trial and argued that if the excuse duty was to expire next week, then putting off the case for a month was “too much”.
Kofi Bentil, the lawyer for the complainants pleaded with the judge to make a statement. She hesitated for a while and indicated that the prosecutor was in charge of the case. Nonetheless, she indulged the lawyer.
Bentil threw in a small grenade. “My Lady, the assault against my clients continues…”
“Objection! Objection!” Kwame Ampofo’s lawyer stood up next to Bentil, screaming “I am objecting resume your seat!” as Kofi Bentil tried to have audience with the judge.
Her Ladyship Evelyn Asamoah asked the two lawyers to resume their seats. She adjourned the case to May 23, 2022.
“Have a great day, my Lady,” Kwame Ampofo’s lawyer felt a certain victorious satisfaction as the ruling suddenly improved his countenance.
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