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29.03.2007 Crime & Punishment

Missing Cocaine — Court Admits Missing Tape

Missing Cocaine — Court Admits Missing Tape

The Accra Fast Track High Court yesterday admitted into evidence the secret voice recording of the five persons who took part in the recorded conversation on the missing 77 parcels of cocaine in ACP Kofi Boakye's house.

That was after the court, presided over by Mr Justice Jones Dotse, a Court of Appeal judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, had overruled the defence team's objection to the tendering of the CD containing the secret voice recording by Detective Inspector Charles Abada, the seventh prosecution witness.

According to the court, secretly recorded interrogation of the accused persons was necessary at the time and relevant as a proof that the accused persons took part in the recorded conversation at ACP Boakye's house.

It said that it did not see the breach of the constitutional provision of fundamental human rights, since the accused persons had been properly arraigned.

At the court's last sitting, the prosecution wanted to tender the CD through the witness but the defence raised an objection and maintained that the secret voice recording infringed on the rights and privacy of the accused persons.

According to the defence team, the admissibility of the secret voice recording would also create unfair prejudice and danger, while interfering with the privacy of the accused persons.

However, the prosecution stated that the secret recording was to demonstrate to the court the voices of those who participated in the conversation which took place in ACP Boakye's house.

The prosecution continued that the issue was not about the relevance of the material on the CD but to show the court the true voices of those who took part in the controversial recording in ACP Boakye's house.

Detective Inspector Abada, who spoke on the secret voice recording during his evidence-in-chief, said he recorded the voices after a voice and speech expert in the United Kingdom (UK) had requested for a fresh voice recording of those who took part in the conversation in ACP Boakye's house.

The subject of the recorded conversation is the result of the trial of Kwabena Amaning, alias Tagor, who is facing four counts of conspiracy, engaging in prohibited business related to narcotic drugs, buying of narcotic drugs and supplying narcotic drugs; and Alhaji Issa Abbas, who faces two counts of conspiracy and supply of narcotic drugs.

They have pleaded not guilty to all the counts and have been refused bail by the court.

According to the court, whatever was said by the accused persons during their meeting in ACP Boakye's house was voluntary and without duress, and the fact that they were not informed before their voices were recorded did not give rise to the recording not being admitted.

It said the police investigator had power to interrogate the accused persons for the purposes of his investigations and since the offences for which the accused persons had been arraigned were serious as they carried a minimum sentence of 10 years, it was necessary that they were treated fairly.

The case was adjourned to April 4, 2007 due to the load-shedding exercise.

Story By Stephen Sah