Funny face takes a picture of himself naked in front of his little girl. He posts it on social media in celebration of her birthday. Would the reaction we’re getting have been the same?
Well, here goes nothing. I get the argument that the child, who the conviction is intended to protect, appears to be worse off by the exactment of the sentence. But really, is he?
The world over, cases abound of how parents lost custody of their children over stated grounds of irresponsibility and established failure/inability to provide quality care for the children.
In all the cases, the children will cry and scream ‘mummy, mummy don’t go’, ‘I want to go to my papa’, ‘I wanna see my parents’, etc.
It is just natural and understandable that a child will want to be with the birth parent, however irresponsible or incapable they are. Why?
Because, they are just kids, they don’t even know what they want. That is why society, together with all of its institutions, including the courts are mandated by law to help protect them from all forms of violations including those from even their parents and the children themselves.
For all we know, there have been even worse violations of the child. This one only happened to have been caught on camera. But we don’t know so let’s leave it there.
Admittedly, the immediate implication of an action taken in line with the protection of the child may not be pleasant. But the inherent value of such actions are immeasurable relative to the sanctity of the child.
And so in the case of Akuapem Poloo, the court took a difficult decision to protect the sanctity of the child by separating him from the mother for 90 days through a custodial sentence, which is by the way the minimum sentence.
This sentence may be harsh or just okay, depending on where you stand on the matter. And so by all means argue for a softer punishment if you want, but I do not see the relevance in drawing in other cases involving high profile personalities which are growing cold in the courts.
Because indeed, they are mutually exclusive. I am all for the speedy prosecution of all cases, both high profile and low profile. But we can’t say just because Kennedy Agyapong or NAM’s case is pending in court, when we arrest an armed robber and have enough evidence for prosecution we should hold on till all the others are done.
If the above logic holds, then we definitely cannot stop prosecution of Akuapem Poloo just because others have not yet been prosecuted.
My concern however will be the consequential orders by the court. Who takes custody of the child in the absence of the mother? Is there any counselling for the child and even the mother to keep her from tearing apart while she serves her time? After all prison is to be reformatory right?
I think if we mean well for the development of the boy, these are the things we should be concerned about.
Because when we go back to the logic in my introductory paragraph, many of you reading this post right now would have even wished for stiffer punishment for Funny Face under the same circumstances.
And I dare say it would have been subtly because he’s a man, before any other reason. But you see, the law is the law and crime isn’t gendered.