Hajia Fati spared jail term; fined GHC10,400 for assaulting: A member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Hajia Fati, who assaulted a journalist at the party’s headquarters, in May 2018, has been found guilty and fined GH¢10,400.
Her advanced age, however, saved her from going to jail.
She will pay GH¢10,400 to the state and Akosua Sakyiwaa, also known as Ohemaa Sakyiwaa Ahwenepa, the Adom FM reporter she physically assaulted.
However, if she fails to pay the fine, she will spend the next 20 months in jail.
Delivering the sentence, the presiding judge, Isaac Addo, said he decided not to impose a custodial sentence on the accused person because of her age.
He said the fine would be divided between the state, which would receive GH¢ 5,400, while the victim takes home, GH¢ 5,000.00 as compensation.
This is the second time Hajia Fati has been fined for assaulting a journalist, she claimed, she mistook for an onion seller at the NPP headquarters.
In December 2019, a Human Right High Court asked her to pay GH¢ 9,000 in damages to the victim. The journalist had taken civil action against the NPP souvenir trader.
The court held that Hajia Fati violated the fundamental human rights of the reporter to free expression in the exercise of her profession as a journalist.
The court in its judgement said Hajia Fati’s action was a threat to media freedom which ought to be punished to serve as an example to others.
The court also observed that protection of such rights and freedoms was critical to a properly functioning democracy.
It, however, declined to fix joint liability on the NPP explaining that the party had shown that Hajia Fati did not act on its instruction and it was also evident in the party’s open condemnation of the assault.
The court, however, noted that Hajia Fati had shown remorse and rendered apologies for her conduct.
Hajia Fati attacked the journalist by slapping her because according to her, the reporter did not seek her permission before taking pictures of her whilst at the NPP headquarters on Friday, May 4, 2018.
The journalist was at the NPP headquarters to report on the picking of nomination forms by aspiring national officers of the party.
Whilst there, a suspended First Vice-Chairman of the NPP, Mr. Sammy Crabbe went there to pick forms but was asked to go and bring cash since the party was not accepting banker’s draft.
Hajia Fati who stormed the party headquarters upon hearing Sammy Crabbe had been there vowed not to allow him to pick the forms should he return.
Her outbursts created a scene and according to the journalist, in her attempt to capture proceedings with her phone, Hajia Fati pounced on her and slapped her.
The case was reported to the Nima Police in Accra for action and ended up in court.
Hajia Fati’s argument
Hajia Fati, later on, explained that she thought the reporter was a member of Sammy Crabbe’s camp who had been sent to take pictures for ulterior motives.
According to her, the reporter looked like an “onion seller” not a journalist as she had come to learn.
After public condemnation, Hajia Fati later rendered an apology to the journalist and the entire journalism fraternity for her behaviour.