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FeaturesGuilty or not!: What the law says about minor-consent in a case...

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Guilty or not!: What the law says about minor-consent in a case of defilement

How abreast are you of Ghana’s laws to enable you to walk out of a ‘legal trap’ that could land you in prison for seven to at most 25 years?

As an adult, much responsibility is expected of you when dealing with a minor, and the least act deemed unlawful could land one in trouble.

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Defilement is one of the many cases that has had many argue in the context of morality and expect the law to go in their favour. But the law is precise on what it calls defilement.

The Criminal Offences Act, 1960 defines defilement in Section 101(2) of Act 29 as natural or unnatural carnal knowledge of a child under sixteen years of age with or without the child’s consent. 

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Why the need for this write-up on defilement? A viral video on X, formerly Twitter, has brought to light a case of defilement involving a Basic 6 pupil.

Ama, a 14-year-old girl, has been abandoned by a 30-year-old man who got her pregnant. The teen, in a video shared by X user, @EvianaGh, currently has a baby who is a month old.

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Ama, who is now a school dropout, indicated that she was in a romantic relationship with the absconded man. She said he failed to take responsibility and denied the baby.

“He was my only boyfriend. He broke my virginity. I was with him only. But when I became pregnant, he said it wasn’t him. My grandma spoke to him but he insisted it was not him. We took him to the Assembly but he insisted it wasn’t his.”

Ama’s grandmother had to step in and take care of her grandchild while pregnant.

The issue has garnered several reactions from X users. Some have commiserated with Ama, but others such as social media influencer, Bongo Ideas, have blamed Ama for her ordeal.

“If she is old enough to open her legs, then she’s old enough to bear the consequences. Let’s allow people to take responsibility for their actions,” @BongoIdeas wrote.

But this assertion has been shot down by many who say there is no justification for a defilement case, whether the minor agreed or not to the sexual act.

“People saying did ama agreed den things Dey funny me ooo, how would u sleep with a minor in the first place ? Chale something’s Dey aaaa we shouldn’t take play,” @fawogyimiiko wrote.

No matter how one argues on moral grounds and blames Ama for willingly accepting a proposal from a 30-year-old man, the teen cannot be held legally responsible for her actions as she is viewed as a citizen unable to make sound judgement.

According to section 14(a) of Act 29, consent for carnal knowledge of a child under sixteen years is void – with punishment of not less than seven years and not more than twenty-five years in prison. 

This means that although morally Ama might be questioned about her decision, legally she has no responsibility, but rather, the adult would be held accountable for engaging in an unlawful act by being in a romantic relationship with a minor.

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