Atogpeelige Akongyaane, the Head Pastor of the Jesus Spanner Miracle Church in the Bongo District, and three other church members were sentenced to seven days in prison by the Bolgatanga District Court.
Together with the pastor, the others were fined GH2,400 each: Zacchaeus Ayamga, Robert Aberinga Akugre, and Daniel Ayeliga Ageekilingo.
Two other members, Veronica Ayamga and Mary Akonyane, the baby’s mother, were spared prison time and fined GH2,400 apiece for being nursing mothers.
They were found guilty of two charges of physical abuse and abetment of crime, namely physical abuse of a child under two months in violation of the criminal offences Act 1960 (Act 29) and the Domestic Violence Act of 2007 (Act 732), and were sentenced last Monday by the court presided over by Mawukoenya Nutekpor.
According to the prosecution, which was directed by Inspector Baliki Amidu Issaka, the complainant in the case was the regional police command, while the defendants were residents of Balungu and Zorko in the Bongo District.
He stated that the regional police command intercepted a social media viral video in which the accused were seen assembled in a church and Veronica was seen tossing and flinging an infant around in a harmful and injurious manner.
He claimed that the accused were discovered and arrested for questioning based on a directive from the regional police headquarters.
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.