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21.07.2004 Crime & Punishment

Alleged drug barons asked to open their defence

Alleged drug barons asked to open their defence
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Accra, July 21, GNA - An Accra High Court hearing the Tema cocaine case on Wednesday ordered six alleged drug barons to open their defence on Tuesday, July 27 saying a prima facie case had been established against them.

The Court presided over by Mr Justice F. Kusi-Appiah, a justice of the Court of Appeal sitting as an additional High Court Judge, made the order after the Prosecution had closed its case. In all 12 witnesses were called.

The accused persons are Kevin Gorman, 59, American, Mohammed Ibrahim Kamil, Ghanaian, Alan Hodson, 45, David Logan, 43, Frank Lavelrick, 43, all British and 45-year-old Sven Herb, a German, have been charged with conspiracy and possessing narcotic drugs without lawful authority.

Gorman, Hodson and Lavelrick were additionally charged for importing narcotic drugs without licence from the Ministry of Health. Gorman was further charged for using his property for narcotic offence.

They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Court further ordered local and foreign currencies retrieved from the accused persons and tendered to the Court to be deposited into the Judicial Service Account at the Bank of Ghana under the supervision of the Court's Registrar.

It said a private car, two shotguns and a revolver; five mobile phones and two air tickets also found on the accused persons should be kept in the custody of the Judicial Service.

Under cross-examination, Detective Sergeant Stephen Owusu, the investigator, told the Court that he did not find any narcotic substance on the accused persons but found it at Gorman's premises. Answering questions by Mr Thaddeus Sory, Counsel for Gorman, Detective Sergeant Owusu maintained that he tendered all the items he retrieved from Gorman to the Court.

He Owusu denied leaving out some of the items saying; "I sat Gorman down and recorded all the items."

He further denied leaving out a medical report, which was also retrieved from Gorman.

Detective Sergeant Owusu maintained that Gorman in his statement stated that he did not know the content of the consignment that was deposited in his house.

In the case on Kamil, he told the Court that he took Kamil's statement immediately he was arrested on January 25. Detective Sergeant Owusu stated that Kamil in his cautioned statement stated that he got to know Gorman after he (Gorman) had married his sister.

The Investigator admitted taking statements of some prosecution witnesses three months after the case had been brought to court. He denied holding an identification parade for Prosecution Witnesses to identify Kamil.

When Addo Attuah, Counsel for Hodson, Logan and Lavelrick questioned him about the difference in weight of the substance, Detective Sergeant Owusu explained that the gross weight of the substance initially was 675 kilograms. However, after the Ghana Standards Board had examined them without the packages the net weight was 588.33 kilograms.

He agreed with Counsel that the street valued of the substance could change adding; "the street value of substance could be about 120 million dollars".

When Counsel demanded from Detective Sergeant Owusu how much a kilogram of cocaine would cost, he replied: "I don't know. Street values of substances are normally quoted by sister agencies and the Narcotics Control Board".

He disagreed with Counsel that since he did not know the street value of the substances that was why his outfit exaggerated the street value of the alleged substance.

He admitted that it was normal for Hodson, Logan and Lavelrick to have put up with Gorman at Tema.

He, however, stated that that it would be difficult for a visitor to identify the spot where the alleged narcotic substance was hidden. Detective Sergeant Owusu said he was not aware that Herb visited Gorman only to inform him about the birth of his son. He maintained that investigations revealed that between December 29 last year and January 1, this year, Herb was at the Captain's Lodge at Prampram.