The compact disc (CD) containing the recorded conversation on the missing 77 parcels of cocaine which took place in ACP Kofi Boakye's house caused another stir at the Fast Track High Court on Tuesday when a voice expert flown in from London told the court that the CD he worked on was different from the one in evidence.
The controversy, which was later resolved with the playing of the CD, unfolded when the expert, Professor John Peter French, was given a CD to identify whether it was the one he had been given to work on.
Prof. French was testifying as the ninth prosecution witness in the case in which Kwabena Amaning, alias Tagor, and Alhaji Issah Abass are being tried for their role in the missing cocaine.
Tagor is facing four counts of conspiracy, engaging in prohibited business related to narcotic drugs, buying of narcotic drugs and supplying narcotic drugs, while Alhaji Issah Abass 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.
Kwabena Acheampong, Tagor, Alhaji Abass, Victor Kisseh, alias Yaw Billah, and Alhaji Moro Mohammed were earlier arraigned at the circuit court for allegedly dealing in narcotic drugs but the prosecution, on, Wednesday, November 22, 2006, discontinued prosecution, resulting in their discharge.
However, fresh charges were preferred against Tagor and Abass, leading to their appearance at the Fast Track High Court.
After examining the CD, Prof. French said the CD he had worked on was different from the one in evidence but had similar markings and stated that he had a photograph of the original CD on a lap top computer.
He explained that he could identify the CD he worked on by either examining it or through its content.
''The CD I worked on has the marking K'B written with a green pen and it is 700 MB, with the markings bigger, while the other CD is 650 MB with markings in green pen," he said.
Following that, Mr Edward Agyemang Duodu, a Principal State Attorney, who led the witness, wanted to have the CD played to the witness to enable him to identify it but counsel for Tagor, Mr Ellis Owusu-Fordjour, objected and argued that the witness had made it clear that the two CDs were different.
However, the court, presided over by Mr Justice Jones Dotse, an Appeal Court judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, overruled the objection and said there was no doubt that the CD was not what the witness had worked on and that he would authenticate it by listening to its content.
"One of the two methods mentioned by the witness has proved that the CD he examined is not the one he worked on and in order to be fair to all let us try the second method by playing the CD," the judge ruled.
At that stage the court suspended sitting for about 35 minutes for technicians to sort out the CD which could not be played in a machine at the court. It was later played on the laptop of the witness for a duration of one hour and two minutes, during which the witness, who had testified in court more than 200 times in many countries, occasionally peered at his own timer while he checked with a transcripted version on his laps.
After the CD had been played, the witness confirmed that it was the CD he had been given to work on.
Similarly, Prof. French linked two of the secret voice recordings to the accused persons, after he had identified all five CDs containing the secret voice recording of those who participated in the conversation in ACP Boakye's house.
In a background as to how he came to be associated with the CD, the witness said on September 5, last year, he met the Attorney¬ General in London and was given instructions to assist in identifying the voices of some people suspected to have engaged in cocaine business in a conversation.
He said the names of the participants were mentioned to him and as his terms of reference he was to find out whether the conversation had been edited or not, identify the speakers and compare their voices, among other things.
The witness said after receiving the CD of the conversation and an accompanying transcript, he needed a local linguist to assist him, since the conversation was basically in Twi and English.
Therefore, he said, he searched on the Internet and contacted various universities but the Attorney-General made Dr Kofi Agyekum of the University of Ghana available and said since people could vary their natural voices, he requested that a secret recording of those who participated in the conversation should be made.
Prof. French said he had done similar work for the UN Court for War Crimes in The Hague when the former Yugoslavian President, the late Slobodan Milosovic, was on trial and when the Prince Harry Exam case in the United Kingdom came up.
Culled from Daily Graphic