'If you cannot take the heat, go outside!' were the words of a circuit court judge to an elderly woman who screamed after Prophet Nana Kofi Yirenkyi, aka Jesus Onetouch, had been handed a 10-year prison term for defiling his 10-year-old daughter.
The trial judge, Mrs Georgina Mensah-Datsa, then proceeded to sentence Jesus Onetouch, Founder and General Overseer of the Jesus Blood Prophetic Ministry to another 10 years' imprisonment for incest.
The convict, who had been in detention for the past 11 months, will serve the sentences concurrently.
The judgement was met with screams, curses and wailing by the convict’s wife and his family and church members, but the 47-year-old convict looked calm when the judgement was pronounced.
The police had a tough time controlling the family members, who did not take kindly to the police officers’ decision not to allow the convict to grant an interview to journalists. He was whisked away by armed policemen to begin his sentence around 10.02 a.m.
The convict, however, kept on saying, “If I am the one who slept with my daughter, may the Almighty God kill me,” while his lawyer, Mr K. Adomako Acheampong, assured him that he would file an appeal on his behalf.
On entering the courtroom around 9:13 a.m., Jesus Onetouch enquired from his lawyer why there were so many policemen within the court premises, to which his lawyer asked him to be calm and leave everything to God.
The convict, who wore a dark suit, entered into a moment of prayer before the trial judge was ushered into the courtroom to begin reading her judgement.
In her judgement, Mrs Mensah-Datsa said the prosecution had proved the guilt of the convict beyond reasonable doubt, noting that she took into account the fact that the convict was a first offender and father of six children before passing judgement.
According to the judge, the prosecution was able to prove that the victim was 10 years old, her hymen had been broken, the convict had slept with her on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays and wiped off the fluid from the sex before beginning his church service on those days.
The court held that the prosecution had proved the charge of incest against the convict beyond reasonable doubt because the convict himself had stated that the victim was his biological daughter, while the victim had proved to the court that the convict had slept with her several times and wiped off the fluid from their sex with a white handkerchief.
Touching on the issue of defilement, it held that the prosecution was able to prove that the victim was below 16, two medical doctors had examined her and stated in their report that her hymen was not intact, while the girl was able to prove that she had been defiled by the convict.
It said it found the victim very truthful in her evidence and further pointed out that other witnesses had corroborated her ordeal.
According to the court, other witnesses also corroborated the victim’s evidence that the convict had warned her of serious consequences if she dared reveal her ordeal to anyone, adding that it was also on record that the convict had pleaded with the police to drop the case.
Touching on the defence team’s argument that the victim’s mother, who was also the complainant in the case, had hatched a plan with her family members to destroy the convict, it said it was difficult to accept that argument because the complainant would not hatch such a plot, considering the societal stigmatisation that would come along with such a plot.
Responding to the convict’s evidence that a man named Efo Emma was the one who had defiled his daughter and that he (convict) had reported the matter to the police, the court held that there was no evidence on record to prove that the convict had lodged a complaint with the police.
It said from the records it was also clear that the victim’s mother never stated anywhere that she was aware her daughter had been defiled by the said Efo Emma who was once a security man at the convict’s house.
The facts of the case were that the 10-year-old victim confessed that the accused person, after bouts of sexual intercourse with her, wiped off the sperms from his sexual organ and the fluids from her vagina with a white handkerchief.
According to the prosecution, the victim, who was born out of wedlock, lived with her mother at Dawu in Akuapem until 2005 when she relocated to Accra to live with her father at McCarthy Hill to attend school.
It said in the latter part of 2007, the convict began having sex with the victim each time before he organised a church service.
In November 2009, the convict gave the victim's mother an opportunity to hold discussions with the victim about a bad behaviour she was exhibiting.
During the interaction with her mother, the victim revealed her ordeal to her mother, which resulted in the woman lodging a complaint with the police.