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17.10.2006 General News

MORE TO BE PROSECUTED IN E. LEGON COCAINE CASE

By TIMES
MORE TO BE PROSECUTED IN E. LEGON COCAINE CASE
LISTEN OCT 17, 2006

MORE suspects are to be charged alongside the two Venezuelans standing trial for allegedly importing 588 kilogrammes of cocaine into the country.

A Chief State Attorney, Ms. Gertrude Aikins, prosecuting the case, gave the hint yesterday when the Accra Fast Track High Court resumed sitting after a two-month break.

"Due to recent developments, we have been compelled to ask for an adjournment to enable us to take certain measures," she told the court, presided over by Mr Justice E.K. Ayebi.

"The prosecution intends to change the charge sheet and charge some other people," she added.

Asked by the court why it had taken the prosecution such a long time to effect the changes, in spite of the two months adjournment, Ms. Aikins replied, "These are recent developments."

Mr. Komla Dogbe Senanu, counsel for Halo Cabeza Castillo, one of the Venezuelans, said the defence had no objection, adding that "the prosecution had earlier on explained the circumstances to me."

The case was therefore adjourned to November 2.
Joel Mella, 35, a machine operator, and Castillo, 38, a businessman, have been in custody since November 24, last year, when the police, upon a tip-off, raided their East Legon residence and seized 588 kilogrammes of cocaine.

They were on July 7 arraigned before the Fast Track Court where the judge ordered that they be provided with a Spanish interpreter since they could not speak English.

The accused have pleaded not guilty to three counts of conspiracy, importation of narcotic drugs without lawful authority, and possessing narcotic drugs without lawful authority.

When the case resumed on July 26, the prosecution amended the charge sheet to four counts of conspiracy, importation of narcotic drugs without lawful authority and possessing narcotic drugs without lawful authority all of which they again pleaded not guilty.

With the new developments, when the case resumes on November 2, the prosecution is likely to amend the charge sheet again and prefer charges against other persons.

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