Rev Owusu Bempah, 4 others remanded in police custody over threat of death, assault

Heavily armed policemen and body guards of renowned man of God, Reverend Isaac Owusu Bempah who escorted him to court yesterday, heckled, manhandled, and prevented journalists from taking photographs of the preacher.

The police allowed only church members into the court room and prevented journalists from covering proceedings with the excuse that they had to seek clearance before they allowed journalists into the court room.

Even members of the Judicial Press Corps who were accredited by the Judicial Service to cover court cases were not spared.

Reverend Bempah, the General Overseer of the Glorious Word Power Ministries appeared in court for the first time after he and four others attacked policemen in his church premises at the weekend.

His church members, mostly women and young men, cursed, cast innuendos, insulted and threatened the life of journalists who took videos and pictures of the revered man of God, as he was ushered into the court room in a Rambo-style.

Before his arrival in a red Toyota Corolla with the registration number UW 245-19, the four others connected to the attack were brought in handcuffs in a police vehicle.

But the policemen, his supporters and well-wishers were agitated when journalists started rolling their cameras to provide live coverage of the incident.

At the entrance of the court, the police mounted a barricade and allowed only lawyers and Reverend Bempah’s church members and junior pastors in the court room.

The few journalists who had access to the court did so because they came in the company of Rev Bempah’s suit wearing legal team.

Proceedings turned dramatic when Muntala Inusah, a senior journalist with the EIB Network was bundled out of the court by three policemen and four body guards of Reverend Bempah for allegedly taking pictures in the court room.

That piece of allegation turned out to be false after his phone was thoroughly searched and nothing found. He was eventually allowed to cover proceedings.

Meanwhile, Rev Bempah would spend the next one week in police custody after he was denied bail by Mrs Afia Owusua Appiah, the presiding judge.

Appearing before the judge, counsel for the accused, Mr Gary Nimako Marfo told the court that the man of God had a fixed place of abode, that Reverend Bempah was not a flight risk and that he would avail himself to stand trial if granted bail.

Mr Marfo reminded the court that the accused were innocent until proven guilty, however, the prosecutor, Chief Inspector Denis Tepeteh in his response said that the accused would interfere with investigation if granted bail.

The policeman argues that although the constitutional rights of the accused must be protected, the offence was committed against policemen who are mandated to protect the citizenry.

Rev Bempah, and four others, Mensah Ofori, Michael Boateng, Frederick Ohene and Nathaniel Agyekum were charged charged with six counts including threats of death and assault.

They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them for threatening to kill Patricia Oduro Koranteng, popularly known as Nana Agradaa.

While Owusu Bempah and Mensah Ofori were charged with two counts of Offensive Conduct conducive to the breach of peace and threat of death, the remaining three were also charged with assault on a public officer.

One other person is currently at large.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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