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Court throws out request to not publish identity of ‘prophet’ Martin Kofi Danso in case of impregnating congregant

A court has ruled that Toronto-based Ghanaian pastor and self-proclaimed “prophet” , Martin Kofi Danso can no longer keep his identity secret in a paternity case just because the publicity could damage his reputation and hurt him financially.  Ontario Superior Court Justice Fred Myers dismissed a request by Martin Kofi Danso to extend a publication […]

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Martin Kofi Danso is the founder of Miracle Arena for All Nations, which operates 17 churches including chapters in Toronto.

Martin Kofi Danso is the founder of Miracle Arena for All Nations, which operates 17 churches including chapters in Toronto.

A court has ruled that Toronto-based Ghanaian pastor and self-proclaimed “prophet” , Martin Kofi Danso can no longer keep his identity secret in a paternity case just because the publicity could damage his reputation and hurt him financially. 

Ontario Superior Court Justice Fred Myers dismissed a request by Martin Kofi Danso to extend a publication ban and sealing order on a court file related to allegations that he fathered a child with former congregant Chris-Ann Bartley.

According to The Star courtroom reporter, Betsy Powell, publication bans in family court matters are typically used to protect the identities of children involved, while Danso cited the risk to his “significant commercial/financial interests” as a reason for requesting a ban.

His request also said “the matter concerns the paternity of a child which is disputed.”

Photos: Prophet Dr Kofi Danso gets private jet on his birthday

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Bartley’s lawyer, Theodora Oprea, told the Star after Tuesday’s hearing that a DNA test has since confirmed Danso is the father of her client’s baby boy, who is now 6 months old. The test was not directly addressed during the court hearing.

In a sworn affidavit filed with the court, Danso claimed he had never had intimate relations with Bartley.

Danso’s lawyer argued that without anonymity, his client will face “emotional, harm, and stress,” particularly if allegations involving other members of the church — which have been posted on social media — are released to the broader public.

“He’s a public figure … he is not someone who will not be harmed by certain allegations,” Daniel Robertson said.

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“It cuts both ways, doesn’t it?” replied the judge. “That also brings about the possibility of a public interest when somebody’s out there with 17 churches raising charitable money and tells a couple of big, fat whoppers in a sworn affidavit.”

Danso is the founder of Miracle Arena for All Nations, which operates 17 churches including chapters in Toronto.

Bartley opposed the publication ban and sealing order on the court file, which another judge imposed at the end of July. Myers said he would release his written reasons later on why he rejected Danso’s arguments that a ban was needed to protect his “significant” commercial and financial interests.

While there are currently no other court proceedings underway, Oprea said the issue of child support and custody are still to be determined.

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“There is significant public interest in this case,” Oprea told the court. “He presents himself as a leader of a church … a moral, religious, family man,” an image that runs counter to someone who has fathered a child in an extramarital affair.

According to the Miracle Arena website, “Prophet Danso” is a devoted father of four who travels the world “impacting and empowering millions of lives through his powerful preaching and teaching ministry.” His wife, JoAnne Danso, is a reverend in the church known as “Mama.” Court heard Tuesday she is expecting twins in the near future.

The judge ordered Danso to pay $4,500 to cover Bartley’s legal costs.

 

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