Pastor and three others are given a 7-day jail term.
Atogpeelige Akongyaane, the head pastor of the Jesus Spanner Miracle Church in the Bongo District, and three other church members were each given a seven-day jail sentence by the Bolgatanga District Court.
In accordance with the Criminal Offences Act of 1960 (Act 29) and the Domestic Violence Act of 2007 (Act 732) respectively, they were found guilty of two counts of physical abuse and aiding and abetting crime.
Along with the pastor, the others—Zacchaeus Ayamga, Robert Aberinga Akugre, and Daniel Ayeliga Ageekilingo—were each fined GH 2,400.
Due to their status as nursing mothers, two further members, Veronica Ayamga and Mary Akonyane, who was the baby’s mother, avoided prison time and were instead each fined GH 2,400.
The facts of the case as presented by the prosecution led by Inspector Baliki Amidu Issaka, were that the complainant in the case was the regional police command while the accused persons were natives of Balungu and Zorko in the Bongo District.
He noted that the regional police command intercepted a viral video on social media in which the accused persons were seen gathered in a church and Veronica was holding an infant tossing and throwing him about in a dangerous and injurious manner.
He stated that based upon a directive from the regional police command, the accused persons were located and arrested for interrogation.
Subsequently, on July 7, 2023, they were arrested and upon interrogation, they admitted the offences in their caution statements but stated that they could not challenge the ‘holy spirit’ that possessed Veronica.
The Prosecutor said around 12:00 p.m. on February 5, 2023, Veronica and Atogpeelige were holding the victim’s naming ceremony in the said church.
During singing, praises and worship, Veronica was possessed and took charge of the victim from Akogyaane on the pretext that the Holy Spirit entered her and that she was protecting the baby from any evil attack that may attempt to take hold of him.
He noted that in the process, Veronica started abusing the baby by throwing and swinging him up and down in a dangerous manner while the other accused persons were busy encouraging her by clapping and singing.
The video of the incident went viral on social media about a week ago which led to their arrest and subsequent charge.