Is the Law an Ass?

The expression “The law is an ass” (originally uttered by Mr. Bumble in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist) is explained on the website The Phrase Finder as when there is lack of common sense in the rigid application of the law.

A recent judgment in a court of law in Ghana makes that phrase all too clear and easy to understand.

A pregnant suspect who bit a relative in a brawl was sentenced to a fine of GHC1200 (a rough equivalent of $267) or, in default, five years in jail.

She ended up in jail because her meager income of less than $30 a month as an attendant at a garbage dumping site could barely sustain her and two young children.

According to the woman, the judge zipped her mouth and wouldn’t allow her to explain herself during court proceedings.

Fortunately, her story had a happy ending. Enter the Crime Check Foundation, an NGO that not only sprang the fully pregnant woman out of jail but paid for her a four-year advance rent for a decent home.

It also gave her a new lease on life by gifting her with a stocked-up grocery store to make her living operating.

But many others aren’t so fortunate. We see this and such others as the trampling of liberty of the poor and have-nots, common in many African countries.

If there is indeed a law on the books that allowed the judge to take the direction taken, then it is indeed a fully-grown ass that must be slaughtered and expunged from the environs of humans.

Otherwise, the judge must be sanctioned for exercising poor judgment to serve as warning to other errant judges.

Had it not been for the NGO that chanced upon the poor woman in jail, not only would she have given birth in jail, but her life and that of her three children would have never been the same.

The law can really be an ass. Need we say more?

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Posted by on Aug 13 2018. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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