Law is a complex discipline and even after studying it for over 7 years to a Masters degree level, I still get lost in its complexities, sometimes.
Yesterday, it emerged that the state of Ghana (the Attorney General) had issued ‘Nolle Prosequi’ in the Kwesi Kyei Darkwah’s rape case—a development which was met with jubilation from KKD’s camp and also attracted a callous message from KKD’s 20 year old daughter-Ohemaa.
On social media, the debate continues unabated in a room of confusion, caused by the various legal complexities.
It’s difficult to keep up with the law—and this difficulty is mostly made worse by the regular use of Latin words and phrase in the legal field. In law schools, those Latin phrases are the most hated—and as such I can understand the confusing they bring to ordinary people.
Let’s look at what the Attorney General wrote in the issuance of KKD’s ‘Nolle Prosequi’ which for now has made KKD a free man…
The victim in this case Ewureffe is still very unwilling to testify in court. The victim states that she is highly traumatized by the events of the day of the incident and its aftermath and so is not in the right frame of mind to appear before the court.
Thus the Attorney General believes that it is not in the best interest of the victim and the prosecution to present her before the court at this point in time.
The AG is mindful of the provisions under the prosecutors code one of which is that the best interest of the victim is to be considered in cases of this nature in deciding whether to prosecute a case or not
The other witnesses in this case who are mostly family members of Ewureffe are also very unwilling to testify.
The Attorney General believed in the case and so held on to it with hope that the witnesses will willingly appear to testify when they are needed by the court. this is not to say that the AG is unaware of the various legal processes at her disposal to compel the witnesses to appear before the court.
It is to be noted that the Attorney General still believes in the case and reserves the right to commence the prosecution once the victim and witnesses are ready.
The above statement clearly shows that, KKD is not deemed innocent and he has not been acquitted either…In criminal law, the Latin phrase “Nolle Prosequi” simply means unwilling to pursue or unwilling to prosecute—and as explained by the Attorney General, it was for lack of witnesses’ cooperation that this became necessary.
Surely, “Nolle Prosequi” is far from acquittal—where the latter means innocence.
When we are dealing with discharge in law, this happens when a Judge considers that there isn’t sufficient ground for proceeding against an accused. That is after the judge has considered the record of the case and the documents submitted therewith, and after hearing the submissions of the accused and the prosecution. This did not happen in the KKD case, so the argument that there was a discharge is not wholly true—in my estimation. But to a wider extent, it is right to term “Nolle Prosequi” as a discharge.
Now, let’s look at Acquittal.
“If after evaluating the evidence given by the prosecution, a Judge considers that there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence”, he is obliged to acquit the accused. This is where we can talk about innocence and not in the rim of discharge or “Nolle Prosequi.”
Of course, being discharged does not in anyway mean that the accused person did not commit the offence—all it means is that, there was not enough evidence to proceed with the trial. However, acquittal means; after evaluating the evidence and listening to both parties, an accused has been found not guilty—innocent of the charge.
It must be noted that, when a discharge is issued (even if we consider ‘Nolle Prosequi’ as a discharge), anytime there is new evidence or the witnesses decide to cooperate, there can be a re-indictment—unless there is a statue of limitation prohibiting the trial.
So is KKD innocent according to the law? No, he is not—and this is why I find the below interview his 20 year old daughter granted disgusting and insensitive.
Though she accepts that her father breached some sort of moral code by sleeping with a 19 year old girl, she jumps on “Nolle Prosequi” and wrongly interprets that to mean innocent. Adding that, they were even going to the place the alleged rape took place to celebrate.
What are they celebrating? The fact that it’s alleged money exchanged hands which cultivated the witnesses’ non-cooperation, forcing the Attorney General to drop the case or the fact that the law was unable to take a good hit at them?
Law & Celebrity is a column on GhanaCelebrities.Com which focuses on how the law affects our celebrities, their lifestyles, new media, entertainment, etc.
Chris-Vincent Agyapong Febiri, who looks at these issues is a postgraduate International Human Rights student, holds a degree in Law (LLB), Diploma in Para Legal and also has extensive knowledge and interest in entertainment, celebrity lifestyle & social media.