Ten persons including a female who trooped onto the streets of Teshie in Accra to celebrate “Kpanshimo,” a form of carnival, as part of the Homowo celebration have appeared before an Accra Circuit Court.
The ten accused have been variously charged with failing to comply with restrictions imposed to contain covid 18, rioting with offensive weapons, possession of offensive weapons and assault on a police officer.
The accused pleaded not guilty and the court presided over by Mrs Evelyn Asamoah admitted them to bail in the sum of GH¢15,000.00 each with two sureties each, one of whom is to be a public servant.
They are expected to reappear on August 31 and the prosecution has been ordered by the court to file their disclosures.
The accused who are all unemployed are: Akweley Armah, Desmond Maamah Martey, Thomas Adjei, Issac Mensah, Christopher Mensah, John Odoi Laryea, Emmanuel Adjetey, Julius Maamah, Matthew Amartey and Frank Nmabiue.
Mr Cecil Mettle Nunoo, represented six of the accused persons.
Prosecuting, Chief Inspector Emmanuel Haligah, told the court that on July 22, 2020, the Teshie Traditional Council engaged stakeholders including the “Kpanshimo” group – a youth group that usually engages in organizing street carnivals during the celebration of the Teshie Homowo Festival.
He said the council in a letter to the group stated that due to the imposition of the restrictions order to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional council was not going to celebrate the 2020 Teshie Homowo Festival in a grand style.
Prosecution said the council further directed that all ritual practices should be restricted to the various clans in their various homes with strict observation of the COVID-19 protocols.
Prosecution said on August 11, 2020 at about 0200 hours, the accused and other 300 accomplices, now at large, defied the restriction orders in force, trooped onto the major streets in Teshie to celebrate Kpanshimo, a significant activity of the Homowo festival.
Chief Inspector Haligah said most of the accused were armed with offensive weapons such as stones, bottles, cutlasses, and knives attacking people and obstructing road users.
He said on seeing the Police, the accused and their accomplices resorted to pelting the Police with stones and bottles.
The Prosecution said the rampaging youth burnt tyres in the middle of the road thereby preventing road users and police from dispersing the riotous crowd.
Prosecution said the Kpeshie Divisional Police Command called for re-enforcement and in the process the accused were arrested.
The Police retrieved butcher's knife from John Odai Laryea and Matthew Amartey.