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18.10.2005 Crime & Punishment

Woman fined for destroying cocoa trees

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Asamankese, Oct. 18, GNA - A 54-year-old farmer has been fined two million cedis by the Asamankese Circuit Court for destroying 13 cocoa trees.

Akua Fio, who pleaded guilty with explanation for intentionally and unlawfully causing damage to the cocoa trees will, in default, go to prison for 12 months.

The judge, Mr Kofi Akrowiah also ordered Akua Fio to compensate the owner of the destroyed cocoa trees, Kwame Yoyo, with 700,000 cedis. Police Chief Inspector John Gyima told the court that Fio and Yoyo shared a common farm boundary.

There was a common footpath between the farms of the two farmers, which farmers in the area used to get to their farms. Fio planted palm trees near the footpath and when the palm trees grew up some of their branches extended into the footpath, thus obstructing the free movement of the users. These branches were therefore cut and that did not go down well with Fio.

The Prosecutor said on September 21, this year, Fio visited her farm and realized that in addition to cutting of the palm branches; some of her young cocoa trees had also been uprooted near Yoyo's cocoa farm. Infuriated, Fio, as a result, intentionally and unlawfully cut down 13 fully-grown cocoa trees on Yoyo's farm.

Yoyo then lodged a complaint with police on the destruction of the trees and when Fio was arrested she admitted the offence, citing the destruction of her young cocoa trees for her action. In his judgment, Mr Akrowiah condemned the behaviour of Fio in destroying the cocoa trees and said she could have reported the earlier destruction of her young cocoa trees to the police or instituted civil action for redress.

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