Effort Dankwa has been sentenced to 39-year prison term by the Accra High Court.
In August 2015, in the couple’s apartment in Tema Community 11, Effort Dankwa shot his pregnant wife Benita Dankwa.
Benita, who was seven months pregnant, was delivered of a baby boy through caesarean section later in the hospital on the day of the shooting.
She has remained paralysed from her chest downwards.
Her husband, who was the only suspect in the shooting denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty when charged with attempted murder.
The case, which has travelled over seven years, came to an end last Friday, March 10, 2023, when a seven-member jury found Effort Dankwa guilty of attempted murder.
Justice Mary M. E. Yanzuh, who sentenced him agreed with the submission by the prosecution that the crime was grave, and the punishment should be severe enough to deter men who nurse such evil against their spouses.
The lawyer for the accused, Winston Hayford, had earlier pleaded for mitigation, saying the accused was a first-time offender and deserved a second chance.
Citing Biblical characters such as Moses, David and Paul, Mr. Hayford said Effort Dankwa was a teacher whose service was beneficial to society. He, therefore, prayed the court to be lenient with him.
The prosecution, on the other hand, prayed the court to hand him a sentence that was severe enough to deter others. A state attorney told the court that the harm Effort Dankwa had caused his wife was irreversible and that her parents were now taking care of her instead of the other way round.
Justice Mary Yanzuh said the offence was a first-degree felony and that punishment could range from a life imprisonment to a lesser sentence. She said though the court had the discretion to sentence, that discretion must be “fair and judicial”.
She said, in arriving at the sentence, she took into account a number of factors such as the accused being a first time offender.
She said she also considered the fact that the accused said he did not own a pistol, therefore the crime was premeditated.
She added shooting his seven-month-pregnant wife meant that Effort Dankwa had no regard for the “innocent unborn child”. She also said she took into account the degree of the harm caused the victim, who had lost her ability to pass urine and empty her bowels.
The parents of Benita Dankwa, who were in court to hear the sentence, said it was deterrent enough.
On Friday when a seven-member jury found Effort Dankwa guilty of attempted murder, Benita’s parents said they were happy their daughter had finally got justice.
“It is not the number of years he is going to spend in prison that matters to me, but the fact that he has been proven guilty is my main interest. I am satisfied and okay with the court,” her father, Seth O.S. Yirenkyi, told The Fourth Estate.
Her mother, Mrs. Agnes Yirenkyi, said she felt relieved. “My heart is at peace and comforted by God’s word that patience begot victory. Jehovah is a lover of justice. If, after all these years, they have investigated and found that he is guilty, then that is God’s verdict. It isn’t that I am happy nor sad. My daughter is forever incapacitated, but the truth has been unveiled,” she said.
The jury’s verdict came more than seven years after Effort, then 36 years, was arrested after police investigations identified him as the prime suspect in an attack on his wife, Benita Dankwa, then 29.