Can the ordinary Ghanaian plead Ignorance of Law?


Law is one of the social institutions that binds all citizens; both young and old. This is because from cradle to grave, man is governed by laws. That is to say that the law regulates the entirety of man’s existence, activities, properties and general conduct throughout his lifetime and beyond. This observation aligns with the lucid thought of Antiedu which he shared at the launch of his law book titled Reading the Law. The author noted that: “We’re born into the law; we live within the law and we die according to the law.”

The fact of the indispensability and iniquitousness of law in our lives requires every member of society of sound mind and legal age to have full knowledge of the laws of the country and to obey all the laws. Thus, a person of legal age and sound mind who fails to access the law and to know its contents cannot be availed by his or her ignorance of the law if found to be in conflict with the law. This is because ignorance of the law is no defence in law.

The rule that ignorance of the law is no defence gained considerable currency during the trial, conviction and incarceration of Rosemond Brown a.k.a. Akuapem Poloo in April 2021. She was charged for publishing obscene material and engaging in domestic violence against her son. The actress made a striking remark after her successful bail application pending appeal and release from jail. She said: “I didn’t know that taking a photograph with my son in that manner would put me in trouble.” The purpose of this article is to inquire into the question of whether or not an ordinary Ghanaian can plead ignorance of law if found to be in conflict with the criminal laws of Ghana.

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