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17.06.2004 General News

It´s unfair to give hearsay evidence- Court rules

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Accra, June 17, GNA- An Accra High Court on Thursday, upheld an objection by a team of attorneys representing six accused persons in a cocaine case, that it would be unfair on the part of their clients, if Police Corporal John Awuni, Ninth Prosecution Witness (PW9), repeated what a witness had already told the court.

In his ruling, Mr. Justice F. Kusi Appiah, an Appeal Court Judge with additional responsibility as a High Court Judge, said: "in this case the statement of the Fourth Prosecution Witness (4th PW) as recorded by Corporal Awuni, while taking his statement in the course of his official duty is admissible".

He said: "This does not mean that it ought to be admitted". Mr. Kusi Appiah explained that "because Section 52 of the Evidence Decree 1975, (NRCD 323), gives discretion to the trial judge, to exclude relevant evidence when necessary".

"I must say that the person whose evidence Corporal Awuni is trying to repeat himself testified and the hear-say being given by the policeman, would not add anything new but would only prolong the trial and may create unfair prejudice to the accused persons in the trial", adding "for this reason the objection is upheld", he added.

Attorneys for the accused persons, Mr. Thaddeus Sory, Mr. Owusu Fodjour, Mr. Addo Attuah and Mr. Kwabla Senano, had all taken a stand that the Fourth Prosecution Witness himself had gone to the court to testify and that there was no need for such evidence to be repeated. Replying, Chief State Attorney, Mr. Anthony Gyambiby said it was fair for Corporal Awuni to give the evidence.

The accused persons are Kevin D. Gorman, 59, an American; David J. Logan, 43, Frank D. Laverick, 43 and Allan Hodgson, 45, all British; Sven Herb, 45, a German, including Mohammed Ibrahim Kamil, a Ghanaian. They are charged with two counts of engaging in criminal conspiracy to commit an offence relating to narcotic drugs and possessing narcotic drugs without authority.

Gorman, Kamil and Herb are facing additional charge of importing narcotic drugs without a licence. All the accused persons have pleaded not guilty and are in custody. They will reappear on June 22 and 23.