An Accra High Court has set aside a judgment by a Juvenile court that jailed a final-year student of Achimota Senior High School in Accra for killing a female colleague in January 2017.
The High Court said there was a miscarriage of justice because the juvenile court delivered a verdict without waiting for a social enquiry report.
The jail term was imposed in September 2017 by a Juvenile court presided over by Bernardine S.A Senoo.
He found the SHS student guilty of manslaughter and sentenced him to three years imprisonment at a correctional Home.
Lily Donkor, who was also in her final year at Achimota High School was shot dead by her friend after she had gone to visit him at his Community 8 home in Tema on January 4, 2017.
During the trial, the prosecution explained that the accused went into his father’s room and picked up his father’s single-barrelled gun and shot the victim in the abdomen.
The convict had told the police that he intended to shoot into the air however the gravity of the gun changed course and hit the deceased.
The prosecution said one Madam Gifty Billy, a neighbour, heard the gunshot and went to the scene only to see the victim lying in a pool of blood.
The prosecution said Gifty rushed the victim to the Port Clinic in Tema. She died at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra where she was transferred.
The convict has been serving his sentence in a Correctional facility since the September 2017 judgment. But about six months since the judgment, a High Court has faulted the verdict.
The court said the earlier ruling contravened the Juvenile Act which requires the report to be issued before sentencing.
The Act also says the trial must not travel beyond 6months. When the Juvenile Court realized the 6months was almost up it sentenced the guy and now ordered for the report to be put together.
Section 24—Social Enquiry Report.
(1) Where a juvenile is charged with an offence, the juvenile court shall order a social enquiry report to be submitted to the court which shall be taken into account by the court in the making of an order.
(2) The social enquiry report shall be prepared by a probation officer who shall visit the home of the juvenile.
(3) The social enquiry report shall include particulars on the background of the juvenile, the present circumstances of the juvenile, the conditions under which the offence was committed and recommendations for sentence.
(4) The social enquiry report may include a recommendation that the matter before the juvenile court be referred to a child panel established under the Children's Act, 1998 (Act 560) but the referral shall only be in respect of a minor offence.
(5) The court shall ensure that the contents of the report are made known to the juvenile and a copy shall be made available to the juvenile or the legal representative of the juvenile.
(6) The court may request an oral report from the probation officer in addition to the social enquiry report.
(7) If the court does not follow the recommendations given in the report, written reasons shall be given as to why the recommendations have not been complied with.
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