An Accra Circuit Court (Domestic Violence and Gender-Based Division) has convicted Bishop Daniel Obinim, Founder of International God’s Way Church, for lashing two minors in his church on live television.
Bishop Obinim, who initially pleaded not guilty to the charge of assault when he first appeared before the court, changed his plea to guilty yesterday when the case was called.
His conviction brings an end to the over two years’ trial, which made the prosecution handicapped, as the whereabouts of the victims was unknown.
Eyebrows were raised when Daniel Obinim decided to change his plea as he consistently denied the offence, and at a point in the trial denied stating that in his caution statement.
Appearing before the court, presided over by Abena Oppong Adjin-Doku yesterday, Bishop Obinim and his associate pastors pleaded guilty with explanation.
He was subsequently sentenced to a fine of GH¢4,800.00 or in default spend six months in prison.
The other accused persons who are all his associate pastors are Kingsley Baah and Solomon Abraham.
They were also sentenced to a fine of GH¢3,600.00 or in default spend four months in prison.
In addition, Bishop Obinim and his other two pastors are to sign a bond to be of good behaviour and a breach of that bond would land them in jail for three months.
Explaining Bishop Obinim’s action, his lawyer, Ralph Poku Edusei, stated that it is a well-known fact in Ghana that when a child goes off track, he or she ought to be scolded.
He said Bishop Obinim, however, chose the wrong means and venue to do so.
He added that the accused persons had promised not to repeat the act and therefore pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy.
Bishop Obinim, together with two of his pastors, was facing trial for assaulting his adopted children – a 14-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy in the presence of his congregants.
Prior to their conviction, Bishop Obinim on many occasions failed to appear before the court which was often told that he had been admitted at the hospital.
The second accused person, Kingsley Baah, also stopped appearing before the court which informed that he was no longer with the International God’s Way Church and that nobody knew of his whereabouts.
The case then took a different twist when the two victims could not be located.
This forced the prosecution, led by DSP George Amega to bring its case to a premature close, paving way for Bishop Obinim to open his defense.
There was some disagreement between Bishop Obinim and the police over the authenticity of investigative caution statement he gave to the police.
Although the prosecution, led by DSP George Amega, maintained that the pastor signed the statement, Obinim denied the allegation.
Obinim said that he gave a caution statement to the Tema Police, but the one presented to court by the prosecution did not bear his signature.
Subsequently, the court gave an order for the signatures of Bishop Obinim to be taken to the forensic lab for examination.
The results of a forensic test on the signatures were not ready at the time he changed his plea and was convicted.