AMARTEY ARMAA, a 32-year-old farmer, who put burning charcoal in the palms of his nine-year-old son to deter him from stealing has found himself in the grips of the law.
The little boy is currently on admission at the Police Hospital in Accra, while the accused person has been hauled before an Accra Circuit Court.
He pleaded guilty with explanation to the charge of causing harm and was sentenced to three years imprisonment.
Explaining to the trial judge why he committed such a hideous offence, Armaa alleged that the little boy was always stealing from people in the neighbourhood and all attempts to get him to stop had proved futile.
He told the judge that he only wanted to discipline his son and prayed the court to deal leniently with him because his wife had just given birth and would need financial support from him, but the judge sentenced him without considering his plea for leniency.
Prosecuting, ASP George Abavelim told the court that the victim was a school dropout and lived with the accused and his step-mother, Madam Ayeley at Kyeiman near Ayi Mensah, a surburb of Accra.
He said the father of the accused, Mr. Amartey Laryea, who was the complainant in the case, said he could no longer stand the brutalities being meted out to the little boy, the first born of five children of the accused, at the least provocation.
According to the prosecuting officer, on November 21 2007, the farmer accused his son of stealing various sums of money from two people in the neighbourhood and started beating him with a fan belt.
Mr. Abavelim said Armaa then put burning charcoal into the palms of his son and told him to hold them until he promises not to steal again and when he realized that the victim could no longer stand the ordeal and attempted to throw the charcoal away, he put them back into his palms and held them tightly for his palm to burn the more.
According to the prosecutor, the victim, who was screaming in pain, tried to free himself from the father to run to safety but in the process he fell into a coalpot nearby with burning charcoal, sustaining injuries all over his body in the process.
He said the accused, convinced that he had disciplined his son well enough, left him to his fate and went to farm while his father, who heard the victim wailing, came to his rescue.
He further told the court that on November 22, news of the victim's ordeal got to the Domestic Violence and Victims' Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service and the accused was arrested.
Mr. Abavelim said the farmer admitted the offence, saying he acted upon extreme provocation.
He was subsequently charged with the offence after police investigations.
By Fidelia Achama