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Most otherwise well-informed and generally knowledgeable people know for an elementary fact that mosquitoes infect people with malaria but they would most likely be startled or probably laugh at you if you told them that human beings infect mosquitoes with malaria.

Yet it is all so simple isn’t it? When a female anopheles mosquito carrying malaria parasites bites a person, the person gets malaria. If on the other hand, a mosquito which is not carrying any malaria parasites bites a person with malaria, the mosquito gets infected with malaria by that person. That mosquito can now in turn infect a person it bites.

It may be useful then, to teach our children in school the kind of critical thinking that enables the individual to arrive at such odd facts for themselves without anyone drawing their attention to them. That way, they will grow up with the kind of questioning minds that will incline them to confront those social and political contradictions that affect their lives.

Methinks for example, that the grandmasters of jurisprudence in our country owe us laymen an explanation in the matter of the trial and conviction of Dr Gabass for defilement of a minor.

The man has been convicted and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment on the charge, but acquitted on a charge of having carnal knowledge of the same minor.  How could that be? If it is the case that defilement and carnal knowledge do not have the common definition of a sexual act then our conversation has ended even before it has started but if they do, then the wizards of jurisprudence have some questions to answer for the benefit of laymen.

How can a man who sexually assaults a minor be innocent of carnal knowledge of that same minor on account of the fact that victim is below 16 years of age and the law says for the charge of having carnal knowledge to stand, the victim must be above 16 years of age. Are the offence and the related criminal charge determined by the criminal act itself or the age of the victim? What has the victim’s age got to do with it? It would be a truly sad day if I am not making any sense to you.

My search for a definition of carnal knowledge has led me nowhere, Jomo; The legal dictionary was not of much help and even came close to leading me up the wrong road, merely defining carnal knowledge as sexual intercourse between a man and a woman and adding pretty little else.

This is what I found to my utmost disbelief: Carnal knowledge has different meanings in different countries and judicial jurisdictions at different times and in different situations so that in the end some jurisdictions leave it to judges to determine want constitutes or does not constitute carnal knowledge:

In most jurisdictions, carnal knowledge generally refers to lawful or consensual sexual intercourse or unlawful sexual intercourse. In some jurisdictions carnal knowledge does not include sodomy but in other jurisdictions it DOES.

In some jurisdictions carnal knowledge is used to refer to sex with someone below the age of consent but as already noted some statutes make no distinction at all. Then there are those jurisdictions in which carnal knowledge refers to statutory rape. Some countries laws do not define carnal knowledge at all and leave it to judges as stated earlier.

So it came to pass that Judge Rita Agyeman Budu acquitted Dr Gabass on the charge of having unnatural carnal knowledge of a minor.

According to the Graphic reporter who covered the sentencing of Dr Gabass, “on hearing that he {Dr Gabass} has been qcquitted of the charge of unnatural carnal knowledge, the accused jumped in the dock with his hands pointing to the sky, probably thinking he would walk out of the courtroom a free man.”

In another jurisdiction where judges are allowed to define carnal knowledge may have been downcast after the ruling on the unnatural carnal knowledge charge.

Dr Gabass we have been told is not carrying HIV while his victim is HIV positive. Dr Gabass may indeed be as guilty as sin, but on appeal it could be argued that since the alleged victim is carrying the virus and Dr Gabass is HIV-negative, the victim must have contracted the virus from homosexual activity with other persons.

It could be argued of course that Dr Gabass may have used a condom. That still leaves the question of how the victim got infected with HIV open and Gabass’s lawyer could capitalize on it to raise credibility questions against the victim on appeal don’t you think?