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Some Common Crimes And Their Corresponding Punishments Act 29 In View -Part 1

By Richard Nii Amarh
Article Some Common Crimes And Their Corresponding Punishments Act 29 In View -Part 1
MON, 24 JUN 2024 LISTEN

Whilst most crimes in Ghana are recorded in the Criminal and other offences Act of 1960, Act 29, a reader is not likely to find their corresponding punishments for these offences in that law. This makes it difficult for most people to know what kind of punishment awaits them when they are found to have committed an offence. Article 19(11) of the constitution (1992), makes it illegal for anyone to be punished for an offence whose punishment is not written. It says as follows; “No person shall be convicted of a criminal offence unless the offence is defined and the penalty for it is prescribed in a written law”.

Part VI of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1960, Act 30 provides for most punishments for crimes in Ghana. Most crimes found in other laws apart from Act 29 and Act 30 usually come with their punishments in those other laws and where there is no punishment, there will be words that will lead to the fact that the punishments can be found in Act 30.

For the purpose of this write up, we shall focus on part VI of Act 30.

The following punishments may be inflicted on a person who has been convicted of a crime in Ghana as at the year 2024: imprisonment; detention, payment of fine, payment of compensation, liability to police supervision.

Crimes in Ghana are graded and punished according to whether it is a first-degree felony, second degree felony or a misdemeanour. Some laws also come with the corresponding punishment in them.

Generally, first degree felonies carry sentences of up to life imprisonments. Until recently, some first-degree offences came with Death Penalty. Second degree felonies usually carry up to 10 years imprisonments whilst misdemeanours which are usually lesser offences carry a maximum of three years.

It is important to note that if the convict has previous history of the same crime for which he/she has been convicted, section 300 of Act 30 allows the judge to give the person increased punishment for repetition of crime. Increased punishments can go as much as a double of the original punishment for the crime.

Haven given this background, I will proceed to list some common crimes and their corresponding punishment for my readers.

Abetment: This simply means that you have assisted, instigated, encouraged, promoted, advised or instructed someone to commit a crime. Punishment for this offence is the same punishment that will be given to the person who actually committed the offence. Example, If Kwabena hires Kojo to Kill Ama, Kwabena will get life imprisonment just as Kojo will.

Harbouring a Criminal: This means you are hiding a person who has committed a crime in order to evade arrest. Punishment is a minimum of 1 day in prison and a maximum of 3 years in prison.

Murder: This means intentionally causing the death of another person. Punishment is life imprisonment. However, a person who attempts to commits murder commits a first-degree felony and therefore can get from 1 day up to life imprisonment.

Genocide: A person who kills, harms or inflicts pain on a group with the intention of destroying that group such as an ethnic group, religious group or a town, race, nationalities or the likes. Punishment for this offence is life imprisonment.

Manslaughter: Note that the only difference between murder and manslaughter is “intent”. So, in manslaughter, the person has killed but did not do so with intent to kill. Punishment for this is a minimum of 1 day in prison and a maximum of life in prison. Most Judges usually give lower sentences if they are convinced that it was manslaughter and not murder.

Abetment of suicide: When you assist someone to kill him/herself. Punishment is a minimum of 1 day in prison and a maximum of life in prison.

Abortion or miscarriage – this crime involves causing the premature expulsion or removal of a foetus before its time of birth for no justifiable reason. Punishment for this is a minimum of 1 day in prison and a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Causing Harm – this means intentionally and unlawfully causing harm to another person. For this crime, you can get a minimum of 1 day in prison and a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Female Genital Mutilation – this refers to cutting the labia minora, labia majora and or the clitoris of a girl. This offence carries a minimum of 4 years in prison and a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Use of offensive weapon – this refers to using a weapon to harm another person. This crime carries a minimum of 1 day in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment.

Exposing Child to danger – this crime refers to a situation where a parent or guardian leaves a child of less than 12 years or a child with mental disability unattended to in a way that can lead to the child getting into harm. Punishment is a minimum of 1 day in prison and a maximum of 3 years in prison.

Threat of harm – this crime happens when a person threatens another person in a way that makes that other person reasonably feel that they are in danger of harm. Punishment is a minimum of 1 day in prison and maximum of 3 years in prison.

Threat of death on the other hand will attract a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

Assault – in ordinary terms, assault means hitting another person. But the legal definition is actually a touch of that other person without their consent. This is also a misdemeanour and can give up to 3 years.

Kidnapping – this crime involves restricting the movement of a person without that person’s consent and making it impossible for that person to have access to the courts or to their relatives. If convicted of this crime, there is a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

Abandonment of infant – a person in charge of a child under 5 years, who leave the child at a place and runs away commits this crime and punishment is a maximum of 3 years in prison.

Rape – this crime occurs when a male has sexual intercourse with a female above 16 years and without the consent of that female. Punishment is a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 25 years.

Defilement – this refers to the sexual intercourse between a male above the age of 12 years and a female under the age of 16. It does not matter that the girl gave consent, it is still a crime. Punishment is a minimum of 7 years in prison and a maximum of 25 years in prison.

Unnatural carnal Knowledge – this refers to the act of having sexual intercourse with a person or an animal in an unnatural manner. If it was done with a person above 16 years and without that person’s consent, punishment is minimum 5 years and maximum 25 years. If it is done with a person over 16 years with the persons consent, punishment is a maximum of three years. If it is done with an animal, punishment is a maximum of three years.

Incest – the offence of incest occurs when a person has sexual intercourse with his/her grandchild, child, sister, parent or grandparent. Punishment is a minimum of 3 years in prison and a maximum of 25 years in prison. For more insight on incest, I have discussed the case of Glah vrs the republic the article rape and other sexual offences in Ghana. I encourage you to rad that article.

Stealing means appropriating or taking a thing which is not yours and therefore depriving the owners of access to it. Punishment for stealing is a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Defrauding by false pretences – this crime occurs when one tells the other person, things he/she knows to be untrue in order for that person to give them something valuable. Punishment for this is a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Robbery – this crime involves the use of offensive weapons, threats, force and harm to another person in order to steal from them. Punishment for this is a maximum of life in prison.

Unlawful entry – his occurs when one enters a premises without the consent of the person who has the right to give consent and without any lawful authority to do so. This simple crime can land you up to 10 years in prison.

Forgery of Judicial or official document – a person who commits this crime can get up to 10 years in prison.

These are some of the most common offences I have identified in this article. You may comment with the type of crime you want to know about, and its punishment, and I will take another time to provide you with an answer. Watch out for another episode with more crimes and their punishment.

Thank you for reading.
Richard Nii Amarh ESQ
Private Legal Practitioner

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