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14.06.2007 General News

Police Pick Halim Banda

Halim Banda, the 28-year-old man who was being sought by the police for an alleged nightclub brawl, was arrested yesterday on the Cocoa Affairs Court premises in Accra.

He was arrested after he appeared before a circuit court to answer charges for an offence which the prosecution said he committed with his brother at the same nightclub on December 9, last year against the club owner and one other person.

At exactly 11:45 a.m. when the suspect walked out of the courtroom, he was handcuffed by plain-clothed policemen who told him that he was under arrest and whisked him away to the Police Headquarters.

In the instant case, Halim, the managing director of a company in Tema and said to be the son of Alhaji Asuma Banda, the shipping magnate, was said to have, on Sunday, stormed the Cinderella Nightclub and allegedly attacked its owner, Mr Kiki Banson, and assaulted a radio presenter, Kofi Okyere Darko (KOD) of Radio Gold.

In court yesterday, Mr Dominic Dagbanje, a prosecutor from the Attorney-General's (A-G) Department, told the court that the A-G had taken over the case and that the old charge had been withdrawn and was being substituted with a new one.

Halim and his brother Sidik pleaded not guilty to two counts of intentionally causing harm and causing damage to property worth $9,000.

The prosecution wanted the court to remand Halim because of the latest incident but the court ruled that since the accused person dutifully obeyed the old bail granted to him, he should remain on that because the new incident was not known to the court.

According to the facts of the case, the accused persons were regular patrons at the Cinderella Nightclub and on December 9, 2006, a misunderstanding arose at the VIP section of the club, during which a fight ensued.

The prosecutor said during the fight, the accused persons allegedly vandalised property worth $9,000, while Sidik threw a bottle at Reginald Eldo Bannerman, a patron of the club, injuring him in the palm.

He said Reginald, after receiving initial treatment at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, sought further treatment abroad.

In his evidence-in-chief, Reginald told the court that he did not know the accused persons but remember meeting them at the nightclub on the day of the incident.

He said while at the nightclub, he received a call on his mobile phone but because of the noisy nature of the area, he decided to walk out to take the call, saying it was at the entrance that he saw bottles and glasses being hurled in his direction.

According to him, in order to protect himself, he raised his hands but he was hit in the palm by one of the 'missiles', adding that he was assisted by some patrons and employees of the club and rushed to the 37 Military Hospital, from where he was referred to the Korle-Bu Plastic Surgery Unit.

The witness identified Sidik as the person who injured him and the court overruled an attempt to tender a photograph of his injured palm because it did not show that the photograph was taken of him.

During cross-examination, Reginald disagreed with counsel for the accused persons that the bottles were not specifically directed at him because they were directed at another individual at the entrance of the club.

He said he did not know whether another person was hit by some of the 'missiles' or not and he did not see Sidik in the club prior to the incident.

He agreed with counsel that the decision to seek further treatment elsewhere was personal and not a referral from the Korle-Bu Plastic Surgery Unit.

The case was adjourned to June 26, 2007.

Story by Stephen Sah