Court discharges 21 alleged LGBTQ members

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Ho Circuit Court presided over by Justice Felix Datsomor has struck out a case involving 21 persons alleged to be members of the LGBTQ community.

The 21, who were summarily acquitted and discharged, were arrested on May 20, while attending a conference in Ho and were subsequently arraigned, charged with unlawful Assembly.

A bail was secured for the group on June 11, and the docket on the case was forwarded to the Attorney General’s office for advice.

Chief Superintendent Akolgo Yakubu Ayamga, at the hearing on Thursday, said the Senior State Attorney had noted that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the charge and had accordingly advised that the case be struck out, and the accused persons discharged.

Justice Datsomor cited the advice from the AG, which he received in a letter dated August 02, 2021, and said would strike out the case based on the strength of the Prosecutor’s submission.

Mad Julia Ayertey, lead counsel for the accused persons, welcomed the decision, which she said should have been handed a lot sooner.

She told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the ruling was the right decision and was no surprise as the evidence did not support the charge.

Members of the group were seen celebrating the ruling outside the courtroom with some commending the GNA for following the case through.

Attah, a social worker and researcher who also is an ally of the group, told the GNA that the case had been a “torturous journey,” and commended the group for showing comportment throughout the legal process.

He further praised the legal team for putting a strong defense leading to their acquittal and discharge.

“It’s been a torturous journey. We’ve been back and forth on this case for close to three months now and today marks a day of happiness.

“We are greatly elated and it’s a mixed feeling today. As the saying goes, the wheels of justice grind slowly. We knew that one day this would come to an end and we are happy that everybody comported themselves well and everybody presented him or herself today.

“So far we’ve had a very cooperative team and the legal team has been very affront with their defences and all, so we are glad,” he stated.

Some Members of Parliament recently introduced a bill seeking to criminalise LGBTQ relationships in Ghana.

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