Nana Kofi Yirenkyi v The Republic
The accused person is Nana Kofi Yirenkyi, a Prophet and founder of the Jesus Blood Prophetic Ministry popularly known as ‘Jesus Onetouch’. On 20th January 2011 he was found guilty of defilement and incest contrary to section 101 (2) and 105 of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 by the Circuit Court and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment by Justice Georgina Mensah-Datsa.
According to witness statements of the victim, her mother and her aunt, ‘Jesus Onetouch’ had been sexually abusing the girl. When the girl gave her testimony, she was 10 years old, and had been abused for over two years. After a medical investigation it was found that the girl’s hymen was torn and that there were definitely signs of penetration.
Yirenkyi and his lawyers disagreed with the conclusions drawn by Justice Mensa-Datsa. They filed an appeal on 2nd February 2011 at the High Court to overturn the ruling of the Circuit Court and lift the sentence. It was supported by witness statements of two doctors/gynaecologists that said that it could not be proved that the torn hymen of the girl arose from sexual intercourse. They claimed it could also result from playing or from being washed by the mother. Justice Dzapaksu found that the evidence provided by the prosecution did not prove the evidence beyond reasonable doubt, which is required in criminal cases. The convictions imposed on Yirenkyi were then overturned and his sentence was lifted on 30th March 2012.
The Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) has been observing the case from the very beginning as an ‘amicus curiae’ and raised serious concern against the Court of Appeal’s decision. Executive Director, Nana Oye Lithur, wrote a protest letter to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Benjamin Kunbuor on 2nd April 2012. There she endeavors to overturn the verdict of the High Court by filing an appeal and to affirm the decision and the sentence of the Circuit Court from January 2011.