Senanu’s prayer for reduction of a 25-year jail sentence at the Supreme Court

In the company of Prison Wardens and with no legal representation, the convict was told by the presiding Justice to approach the Bench and tell the court what he wanted.

Is allowance instantly strangers applauded

Generally, it is the prayer and desire of most convicts to have total freedom and be placed beyond the four walls of the prison cells to enjoy the normal life of a human being.

This is not limited to any class of offenders because even the perpetrator of the gravest offense at a point in his prison life, heaves a great sigh of remorse and wishes to go free.

It is instructive to note that no matter how deep such decisions lie in the bosom of their Lordships, it is also theirs to apply the relevant fact to the law in deciphering an outcome.

One such story is that of Godwin Senanu, a convict currently serving a term of 25 years who so desires mercy from their Lordships.

On Wednesday, November 12, 2022, when the Supreme Court sat to dispense justice, Senanu’s case was among the plethora of cases listed and called.

In the company of Prison Wardens and with no legal representation,  the convict was told by the presiding Justice to approach the Bench and tell the court what he wanted.

With great difficulty in issuing any word, Senanu tried as much as he could but could not say anything until the presiding Justice, Baffoe-Bonnie(JSC) instructed him to remove his nose mask and talk.

He indicated at this point that he wanted his sentence to be reduced by the court.

The presiding judge now asked him what offense got him into prison and he responded ‘armed robbery

The Judge further asked, “ How many years have you served now?” and Senanu responded, “ 12 years”

According to Sections 149 and 150 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960(Act 29),

 A person who commits robbery commits a first-degree felony.

 A person who steals a thing commits robbery;

(a) if in, and for the purpose of stealing the thing, that person uses force or causes harm to any other person, 

or (b) if that person uses a threat or criminal assault or harm to any other person, with intent to prevent or overcome the resistance of the other person to the stealing of the thing.

It is instructive to note that Senanu was initially given a 30-year jail term by the trial High Court but on appeal to the Court of Appeal, he got his sentence reduced by 5 years.

Therefore it was all clear from his demeanor as he stood before their Lordships that he had a raging song in his mind which went like “Do for me as your smaller brethren has done. Do even more for me”

At this juncture, the state Prosecutor was invited by the court for her view on the convict’s prayer.

She noted that since he was given 30 years by the High Court and the Court of Appeal has reduced it by 5 years, it's enough and for the state, nothing more or less should be done about the convict’s sentence.

It was now time for a ruling and the presiding Justice of the apex court upheld the prosecutor’s argument and wished Senanu well.

One could see the remorse and sadness that engulfed the convict’s whole body and temperature. His expectation wasn’t met.

In the end, I believe that Senanu consoled himself with his Lordship's statement that his sentence could have even been increased by the Supreme Court if the Attorney General had made a case to that effect.

Even though Senanu was denied and has to go back for his remaining prison term, he will certainly be ok with the fact that nothing more was added.