Saturday, April 16, 2011

Two African LDS Missionaries Convicted Of Defiling A 14-Year-Old Girl Acquitted And Freed By High Court In Ghana On Appeal

Two missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who were jailed for defiling a 14-year-old girl have been acquitted and discharged by an Accra High Court.

The two, Omale Ojonugwu Uwa aka Elder Omale, 25, from Nigeria, and Thatayaone Keeng aka Elder Keeng, 20, from Botswana, were sentenced to prison in August 2010 by an Accra Circuit Court presided over by Mrs. Georgina Mensah Datsa. Omale was convicted of conspiracy and defilement and sentenced to 10 years, while Thatayaone Keeng was convicted of defilement and sentenced to 7 years. They appealed. and the High Court presided over by Justice C.A. Wilson said the trial court was wrong in convicting the missionaries, reversed the verdict and freed them. Justice Wilson said he would give his reasons for the decision later.

Defense lawyer Kwabena Addo Attuah argued that the original trial judge erred in convicting his clients when the prosecution had failed to establish a case beyond reasonable doubt against them. He claimed the evidence presented by the prosecution was fraught with inconsistencies. In particular, the prosecution could not produce a birth certificate to prove the alleged victim’s age; instead, the prosecution only brought a weighing card in place of a birth certificate and there were three different birth dates on the card.

The medical examination of the victim did reveal that her hymen was indeed broken. However, it's now quite possible that the victim may have had sex with someone else, and blamed it on the missionaries. It has not been reported whether or not the prosecution will appeal the reversal.

The LDS Church did not disclose what action, if any, was taken against the missionaries' Church membership. Conviction of this type of crime normally results in excommunication. However, it should be a relatively simple process for them to appeal to the First Presidency and have their membership restored, along with restoration of all blessings. This means that while they will have to be re-baptized and re-confirmed, restoration of all previous blessings, to include Priesthood membership, Priesthood offices, and temple endowments, would be automatic thereafter.

Perhaps they might even be allowed to resume and complete their full-time missions.


Anonymous said...

I know a missionary who is serving in Ghana. In his email to home he wrote: "We had a dinner for them tonight and a testimony meeting.
There was not a dry eye in the room, the spirit was so strong, and even now i have a lump in my throat.
We sang "God be with you till we meet again" as the closing song. it was such a perfect choice for the occation espically after everything that has happened.
The second verse really choked me, "When life's perils thick confound you; put his arms unfailing round you."
Heavenly Father was always there keeping them safe with his unfailing arms around them!
Listening to their testimonies was an experience. Even after all the things that have happened to them, their faith in the Lord is unwavering. Their testimony is stronger than ever, President said that in reminded him of the sons of mosiah in the Book of Mormon, wrongly accused and thrown into prision. But the Lord did not forget them, he continued to strive with them. and eventually the walls of the prision came down and they walked free. From this we learn that the lord will not desert those who remain loyal and faithful to Him. We always knew that they would come free, it was just a matter of when. And now that day is here and it was truly a enlighting, testimony building, faith promoting experience.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes and also,
"One only had 4 weeks left on him mission and has spend nearly a whole year extra in ghana. he will finally be able to go home to his family. the other is going to sierra leone to finish his mission. He has 10 months remaining"