Delays in verifying a document at the Western Regional Lands Commission mean Josephine Panyin Mensah, the woman accused of staging her pregnancy and kidnapping in Takoradi, will be spending the weekend in police custody.
According to her lawyer, Philip Fiifi Buckman, the Regional Lands Officer was not available to sign documents on the properties to cover the accused’s GH¢50,000 bail, which was granted on September 27, 2021.
The Lead Counsel for the accused, Mr. Buckman, in an interview said the Regional Lands Officer was the only option for verifying the documents.
“…We were just praying that we could get him to come to the office and do it [verify the papers] for us, but unfortunately, that did not happen.”
Mr. Buckman also said he was unable to get in touch with the Lands Officer, to whom the documents were addressed.
The lawyer also said he was unable to push for his client’s release with a motion at the court.
“I actually drafted my motion but unfortunately for us, this week is the week for the conference for the judges and magistrates, so no court is sitting to be able to hear [the bail motion] for us.”
A fellow lawyer, Martin Kpebu, who notably successfully challenged the status of non-bailable offences at the Supreme Court, described the flow of events as worrying.
“It is not as if she [Josephine Panyin Mensah] is needed in custody for any further investigations or something,” Mr. Kpebu argued.
“The Supreme Court has said it; personal liberties are too precious to be left to an administrative agent,” he also said.
In addition, Mr. Kpebu felt the bail conditions given Josephine Panyin Mensah for a non-violent offence were too steep.
“The thing is that these conditions, sometimes, are too arduous, and they keep accused persons in custody unnecessarily. I thought this offence was a misdemeanor so why the need for a justification?”
Josephine Panyin Mensah has been charged with deceiving a public officer and publication of false news with intent to cause fear and panic.
She pleaded not guilty in her first appearance in court, on Monday.