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General News
Canadian Court Rejects Ghana Birth Certificate 2/6/2007
Sex assault suspect ruled an adult
An immigrant from Ghana, who claims he is a teen, has lost his bid to have sex assault charges dealt with in youth court.

Ontario Superior court judge Denis Power did not believe the man''s claims after hearing several days of testimony last week from the accused man’s father, his CAS worker and probation officer as well as from two employees of the Canadian High Commission in Ghana, who went to look for the accused man’s birth records. Power made the ruling that the man is, in fact, an adult, on Friday.

Standing 6''6", wearing a trimmed beard, the young man had been in legal limbo as prosecutors and his defence lawyer clashed over whether he should be detained at an adult or youth jail while awaiting trial.

Accused of molesting a nine-year-old girl, the man faces a potentially lengthier sentence as an adult.

He has a Ghanian birth certificate with a date of Dec. 19, 1990. But the Crown says that document, while genuine, is inaccurate.

Power heard testimony that birth certificates issued in Ghana are not as reliable as their Canadian counterparts.

Ironically the accused is still a ward of the Children’s Aid Society, but a caseworker with the agency testified before Power that she had always had suspicions about the young man’s age.

She first met the accused when he was purportedly 12, but she said he told her at the time he was 16.

Court heard expert testimony that an X-ray of the accused''s right hand and wrist taken in December 2002 indicated a bone age of 14 -19 years. The expert said tat didn''t square with the young man’s stated age of about 11 years and 11 months.

The man’s defence lawyer Marie Jose Lafleur, said yesterday her client had not decided yet whether to file an appeal.


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