Key Paintsil accuser drops charge
The principal witness in the assault case against Ghana defender John Paintsil dropped all charges against the player on Monday afternoon, supersport.com understands.
In a move that has the potential to alter the course of the case, Amoah Dankwah has declined to go ahead to pursue his initial complaint at the Legon Police.
This puts a dent in the case of the State against the Black Stars right-back, since their main witness will not be available to proffer testimony.
Supersport.com's Gary Al-Smith explains what this latest action means for the trajectory of this case which has gripped the football and wider public in Ghana and abroad.
The situation before
Before this latest twist, Amoah Dankwah, who is a neighbour of the Painstils in the upscale Trasacco Valley area of Ghana's capital, had been the Police's hope of sticking a charge on the player.
Amoah-Dankwah is the owner of the wealthy Mighty Power Group of Companies. He had called the Police when the player charged on his wife on Friday.
However Paintsil's wife has, from the onset, refused to help the State in the matter which she called "a domestic matter". On Monday morning, the Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Police had explained that the State could still press charges against Painstil.
The PRO had said: "It is not the duty of his wife (Richlove) to press charges against him (Painstil). It is that of the Police. Besides, she is not even the complainant. The complainant in this case is a neighbour whom she sought refuge while she was being assaulted."
Hours later, Amoah Dankwah discontinued his role in the case.
What happens now?
In Ghana, a witness in a criminal case cannot claim to drop charges because it is the State that prosecutes in criminal matters. However, because Amoah Dankwah is a material witness, his withdrawal can - and will - harm the prosecution's charge.
What will happen now, according to supersport.com sources within the Police and the Paintsil camp, is that the case has reached a certain dead end.
"You cannot compel a witness to come in a case like this where he has discontinued his role," a lawyer, Yawa Bart-Plange, tells supersport.com.
"What this means is that two things can happen: it has become a 'foolish case' and so we nothing else will happen but it is likely that an out of court settlement will be reached," Bart-Plange goes on.
A 'foolish case' is slang in Ghana for a matter of the law that cannot be continued due to a lack of witnesses or general material to further prosecution.
In the end, Mrs Richlove Paintsil gets what she has wanted from her very first interview on radio, when she urged everyone "to allow the family matter to be settled at home."
Paintsil has been on a $20,000 bail and was expected to arrange with the Police to regulate his mandatory frequent reports to the Legon Police station.