Witness denies knowledge of statement

A witness in the case in which Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and  Mr Kweku Boahen, the Deputy Communications Officer of the party, are standing trial for conspiracy to commit crime and harm, has denied knowledge of his  (witness) statement. 

Mr Benjamin Osei Ampofo Adjei, a morning show host at Adom FM,  a private radio station, in Accra, said the statement was couched and brought to him by the police to sign in May 2019.

The witness who was led in evidence by Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), told the court that he signed the statement without reading it.

Mr Adjei said he was preparing for the 6pm bulletin on the said day when the police came to him and said that the police was conducting investigation into a case.

When the prosecutor asked Mr Adjei to identify the witness statement and the signature, the witness said, “It is my signature and this is the first time I am seeing this.”

The presiding judge, Samuel Asiedu, a Court of Appeal judge, sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, queried: “If this is your signature how come you are seeing it for the first time?”

Defence counsel for Mr Ampofo and Boahen, Messrs Tony Lithur and Dr Abdul Basit Aziz Bamba, objected to the tendering of the document on grounds it goes contrary to practice direction, which stipulates that all parties must agree to the tendering of, a witness statement.

Mr Lithur argued that he objected to the tendering of the document because the witness said the statement was written and brought to him to sign without reading it.

The prosecutor  contended that the practice direction in conducting criminal trial which the defence counsel sought to rely on, used the operative word “may” which meant the court has discretion to adopt the statement or otherwise.

Ruling on the objection, Justice Asiedu said the statement was valid and acceptable since the witness had identified it.

He said practice direction is not law and cannot take away the discretionary powers of the court.

Justice Asiedu stated that the defence counsel can cross-examine the witness on the content of the witness statement.

The trial of the duo was set to begin on July 8, 2019, however, Mr Asiamah Sampong, a senior state attorney, then prosecuting, told the court that the witness was indisposed.

The facts are that accused were arraigned on April 16, for allegedly inciting communicators of the party to attack the chairperson of the Electoral Commission, and the chairman of the National Peace Council.

They were said to have been secretly recorded on their plot of attack, on the target persons in an audio, which has since gone viral.

Mr Tony Lithur, counsel for Mr Ampofo,  told the court that his client could not speak about the alleged leaked tape because it was doctored.

Mr Lithur said the invasion of his client’s privacy related to the constitutional breach of Mr Ampofo’s rights.

Dr Bamba, said his client denied the charges filed against him, and added that Mr Boahen was innocent until proven guilty by the court.

He contended that the charges against Mr Boahen were not grounded in the law.

Miss Gloria Akuffo, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, who read the charges against accused in April, 2019, said Mr Boahen faces only a charge of conspiracy to cause harm, while his colleague was charged with all the three counts.

Mr Boahen and Mr Ampofo had pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, and are currently on GH¢100,000 bail each, with a surety.

The case has been adjourned to February 5, 6, 7 and 11 at 9am.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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