One of the eight Members of Parliament sponsoring the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021, Rockson-Nelson Defeamekpor, has clarified that it does not seek to purposely to imprison culprits.
He explained that it is to serve as a deterrent, adding that, the main purpose is to ensure reforms.
Speaking in on Joy FM’s Top Story on Tuesday, December 12, he said “Nobody is intending to imprison anybody with this bill. It is a conduct that we think that we should check as a sovereign people.”
Meanwhile, Parliament could not agree on the appropriate punishment for LGBTQ+ persons engaging in unnatural carnal knowledge with each other.
The bill criminalises sex between persons of the same sex, between a man or woman and an animal or object, proposing imprisonment of between 3 and 5 years.
However, the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee recommended a jail term of up to 3 years without suggesting a minimum sentence.
Mr Dafeamekpor said: “I support the lower limit. The legislation we are considering, which would lead to an enactment, involves certain aspects of conduct that we need to proscribe, and not all of them should necessarily lead to custodial sentences. Regarding the minimum, which became a point of contention on the floor, it means the court wouldn't have the discretion to even caution someone and discharge them after they have been convicted. However, the intention of this legislation is not necessarily to imprison people,” he explained.
He added that the bill is designed in a way that the court can grant culprits a second chance to amend their ways if found guilty.
"There would be circumstances where, after a successful prosecution and conviction, the court may be inclined, depending on the peculiarity of the case and the applicable law, to merely caution the person to go and be of good conduct.”
He, therefore, called for support from international stakeholders against the bill to appreciate its focus.
Speaking on the same show, the Chairman of Advocates of Christ Ghana, Edem Senanu agreed with the concept that the court can caution individuals found guilty of same-sex activities.
He described it as a fair approach, adding that there should be instances where cases of persons cautioned more than once are followed up with sanctions being escalated.
“The concept is not bad. It is to ensure that certain things are not promoted. I don’t think that anyone should have a problem if the judge thinks that the merits of a case are such that they want to caution an individual,” he added.