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17.04.2007 Crime & Punishment

Secure Services Of Chinese Interpreter - Court Orders

The Accra Fast Track High Court hearing the trial of six persons in connection with the missing cocaine on board the MV Benjamin yesterday ordered the registrar of the court to secure the services of a Chinese interpreter to facilitate the speedy trial of the case.

It asked the registrar to execute the order judiciously.

The court gave the order after Mr Solomon Korli, counsel for the two Chinese, objected to the tendering of a statement of one of the Chinese nationals by the ninth prosecution witness.

The witness, Detective Inspector Justice Oppong, was continuing with his evidence-in-chief in the case in which the owner of the vessel, Joseph Kojo Dawson; Pak Bok Sil, a Korean; Isaac Arhin and Philip Bruce Arhin, Ghanaians and Cui Xian Li and Luo Yin Xing, both Chinese, are alleged to have played various roles leading to the importation of 77 parcels of cocaine, each weighing 30 kilogrammes, into Ghana.

They have been charged with various counts of using property for narcotic offences, engaging in prohibited business relating to narcotics and possession of narcotic drugs without lawful authority.

Each of them has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and have been remanded into prison custody.

The witness, who said he took statements from the Chinese, wanted to tender the one he took from Li but Li's counsel objected to it and drew the court's attention to the fact that he was encountering problems interrogating his clients.

According to Detective Inspector Oppong the substantive Chinese interpreter was outside the jurisdiction and, therefore, he would find it difficult to communicate with his clients to know whether they actually gave statements to the police.

The judge took a look at the statement to ascertain whether it was a confession statement or not, after which counsel was given the opportunity to also look at it.

However, after perusing, counsel said he still needed the services of an interpreter.

Consequently, the case was adjourned to April 26, 2007 to enable the registrar of the court to secure the services of another Chinese interpreter.

Story by Stephen Sah