An Accra Circuit Court yesterday ordered the prosecution to hand over mobile phones to Charles Nii Amarh Mensah, (Shatta Wale), a reggae dancehall artiste, and his accomplices.
Shatta Wale, who has pleaded not guilty to the charge of the publication of false news, was granted a GH₵100,0000.00 self-recognizance bail, together with his three other accomplices.
It was the contention of Mr. Jerry Avenorgbo, counsel for the accused, that his clients mostly depended on their smart mobile phone devices because of their profession, adding that the police’s continuous withholding of the phones negatively affected the survival of the entertainers.
According to their lawyer, the information the police needed for their investigation was all over social media.
Mr. Avenorgbo said “going into my clients’ phones meant invading their privacy”, and prayed the court to instruct the prosecution to release the phones.
The court presided over by Emmanuel Essandoh, therefore granted the request despite the disagreement of the prosecution, led by Inspector Dennis Terkpetey.
Adjourning the case to December 7, the court held that it was not the duty of the defence to help the prosecution carry out its work.
The court said an accused was presumed innocent until proven otherwise, and the phones of accused must be released to suspects, especially when the alleged offences were committed on social media.
The smartphone was taken away from the four accused when they were arrested by the police about three weeks ago for allegedly causing fear and panic through the publication of false news.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU