Reactions continue to roll in on last week’s jailing of actress Rosemond Brown, known as Akuapem Poloo, by an Accra Circuit Court on three charges related to a naked photo she posted on social media in July 2020.
According to human rights lawyer and Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu, there was no need for a custodial sentence on the case and that a fine would have served the purpose of reform, which is the end product of criminal justice as per Ghana’s laws.
He shared his perspectives on GhanaWeb’s weekly entertainment show ‘Bloggers Forum,’ arguing that the actress had expressed remorse for her actions since the photo went viral and also had saved the state resources by pleading guilty.
“My view is that the punishment is very harsh and excessive… my reason for saying that it is harsh is that Akuapem Poloo readily admitted her offence and anytime a person admits his or her guilt, it affects the sentence that is given.
“It is different if she had said she is not guilty and the state then has the burden of calling witness upon witness to prove the guilt of the accused person beyond all reasonable doubt.
“When the accused person admits her guilt, it also infers remorse on the part of the accused person because anyone not remorseful will not accept their guilt,” he submitted.
He added that Poloo’s public conduct showed that she had desisted from engaging in acts that amounted to public indecency between the time she posted the offensive material through to her arrest, arraignment before the courts and trial period.
“For me, she has done enough to prove that she had changed her ways. So if indeed the purpose of criminal justice is to reform and transform people, then by virtue of the arrest and even the arraignment before court, she had already transformed.
“There was no need, absolutely no need for custodial sentence under those circumstances,” he stressed.
His view is shared by a number of lawyers who classed the sentence as high-handed also advancing the option of a fine, others have argued that it was actually lenient because the trial judge had handed down the lowest jail term for the offence which is a misdemeanour.
Akuapem Poloo was last Wednesday convicted on her own plea by the Circuit Court in Accra after pleading guilty to three charges.
She was charged with the publication of nude pictures with her seven-year-old son. She changed her not guilty plea to guilty before being convicted.
She was sentenced to 90 days on each count but the court said the sentence must run concurrently, which means she will only serve a 90-day jail term.
The Court presided over by Her Honour Mrs Christina Cann said such cases are becoming prevalent in society and institutions including the court must act.
The court said it took into consideration all the pleas for mitigation before arriving at the decision.