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30 June 2010 | Crime & Punishment

DNA Test - Woman, Daughter Granted GH¢100,000 Bail

The woman at the centre of the controversial DNA test and her daughter have been granted bail in the sum of GH¢100,000, with six sureties, by the Accra Circuit Court.

Celestine Owusu, who has been charged with conspiracy and child stealing, was also ordered to deposit her passport with the police as a bail condition.

Her 21-year-old daughter, Portia, who claimed to have witnessed the delivery of her supposed younger brother, has also been charged with conspiracy.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges and Celestine, 42, and her daughter, Portia Owusu Annor, were each granted GH¢50,000 bail with three sureties.

The court, presided over by Mrs Patience Mills-Tetteh, granted them bail after a three-man defence team, led by Mr Kwabena Adjei-Lartey, had prayed the court to grant the accused persons bail.

The lawyers had argued that the accused persons had fixed places of abode and would avail themselves for trial when granted bail.

Earlier, the Administrator of the La General Hospital, Mr Adam Hardi, in his evidence-in-chief, had told the court that there was no record at the hospital to indicate that Celestine had attended ante-natal clinic at the facility.

He explained that Celestine, on December 17, 2009, had reported at the hospital indicating she was nine months’ pregnant and also complained of abdominal pains.

Mr Hardi, who was led by an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Ms Mary Agbozo, to give his evidence-in-chief, told the court that the medical assistant who had attended to Celestine gave her paracetamol and antacid and referred her to a gynaecologist at the hospital but she did not report to the gynaecologist.

He tendered Celestine’s medical folder in evidence, without objection from the defence team.

During cross-examination, the witness told the court that he had conference with the medical assistant who had treated Celestine before coming to testify.

He conceded that Celestine’s blood pressure and temperature had not been taken, as was required, and indicated that the hospital could not have altered the records to reflect Celestine’s temperature and blood pressure level.

The facts of the case are that about three years ago the complainant, Mr Ernest Opoku, 43, a Ghanaian resident in Switzerland, rented out one of his shops at Sakumono to Celestine, a businesswoman.

According to the prosecution, Celestine later told the complainant that she had been ejected from her rented apartment and wanted to lodge in the shop with her 20-year-old daughter but he decided to offer her a room in his six-bedroom apartment on humanitarian grounds and thereafter the relationship later developed into a romantic one.

After a while, however, the relationship turned sour and the man decided to eject Celestine from his apartment but she refused to move, claiming that she was his legitimate wife and was pregnant with his baby.

The prosecution said the complainant, however, discounted the claim, since, according to him, the relationship had been broken more than two years earlier and proceeded to report the matter to the police for investigations.

It said Celestine also took the case to the District and Juvenile Court in Accra where the presiding judge, Mrs Cynthia Wiredu, ordered the two to undergo a DNA test to help establish the parentage of the baby, as the complainant had insisted that Celestine had faked the pregnancy to blackmail him.

According to her, when specimen from the complainant and the accused, as well as that of the child, were taken for tests at the Fairfax Laboratory in South Africa, the result showed that neither the woman nor the man she accused of neglect was biologically linked to the child.

Following the DNA results, the Department of Social Welfare later ordered the arrest of the accused and took custody of the baby, who is currently being cared for at the Osu Children’s Home in Accra.

The department has also tasked the Human Trafficking Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to launch full-scale investigations to find the baby’s biological parents.

quot-img-1With God on our side, when commitment grows and passion drives, nothing else can stop us

By: Edetor Mathias quot-img-1