Court orders defendants in COVID-19 protocol breach case to open defence

An Accra Circuit Court has ordered three persons allegedly involved in the breach of COVID-19 protocols during the “Pneumatica Night” church service held by Christ Embassy in May last year, to open their defence.

This was after it had acquitted Edmond Dapaah, the facility manager of the then Fantasy Dome at Trade Fair Centre.

The court presided over by Mrs Ellen Ofei Ayeh in her ruling following a submission of no case, held that the prosecution was unable to prove that Dapaah abetted the commission of the crime.

It held that Dapaah was not the owner of the Dome and the prosecution failed to take measures, including searches at the Registrar’s Department to that effect.

The three to open their defence are Alex Asomani, Wilson Delali Agyeman and Kumi Nutifafa.

The three are being held on a charge of conspiracy to commit a crime and three counts of failing to comply with restrictions imposed on religious bodies.

Accused persons have denied the charge and are on bail.

Earlier, the prosecution led by Police Chief Inspector Simon Apiorsornu told the court that, the Police gathered intelligence that the youth wing of Christ Embassy Church, Ghana, had organised an all-night service dubbed, “Pneumatic Night” at the fantasy Dome within the Trade Fair Centre, without obeying the COVID-19 protocols.

The Prosecution said video footage of the said church service was also cited on various social media platforms and in the video, it was observed that the congregants were not wearing face or nose masks.

The prosecutor said the police proceeded to the Trade fair Centre where they met the head of Security of the Centre Justice Tuuru Konlan.

It said the security confirmed to Police that the Christ Embassy Church organised the said programmes on April 30, 2021, from 8pm at the Fantasy Dome within the Trade fair Centre and closed in the morning of May 1, 2021.

According to the prosecution, the management of the Fantasy Dome did not officially inform the management of the Trade fair Centre about the said programme.

It narrated that the Police conducted an inspection within the Fantasy Dome as well as the Round Pavilion.

“Upon the measurement of the interval between the arranged chairs, it was observed that the one-meter rule of social distancing between congregants was not observed.

Also, there was no fresh air ventilation and the church relied on air conditioners.”

It said further enquiries revealed that the programme exceeded the maximum two-hour duration.

Consequently, Asomani, Agyeman, Nutifafa, who were organisers of the all-night church service were arrested by the Police.

Dapaah, the facility Manager of the fantasy Dome was picked for questioning.  

During investigations, the three accused persons could not give “tangible” reasons for flouting the COVID-19 protocols. -GNA

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