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03.11.2004 Crime & Punishment

Court orders tendering pictures of grenades in evidence

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Accra, Nov. 3, GNA - An Accra Fast Track High Court trying Michael Soussoudis, an economist for illegal possession of firearms on Friday overruled a preliminary objection raised by his counsel that photographs of grenades tendered by prosecution bore no dates and therefore, should not be tendered in evidence.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice G.A. Aryeetey in his ruling said counsel was present when the court gave orders to destroy the grenades since it was posing danger.

The court said defence counsel neither objected to the destruction nor requested for witnesses during destruction, adding Counsel saw the grenades before they were destroyed.

According to the court the pictures were relevant to the trial and therefore, 12 pictures should be tendered in evidence.

Defence counsel's objection came after prosecution had tendered the pictures of the grenades in evidence through Detective Chief Inspector Abraham Ackah Annor, one of the investigators in the case. "Whether the picture were taken in or out of the Police Armoury Training School we cannot tell; whatever objects the pictures portray are unknown to us." Defence counsel said.

According to defence counsel, the destruction of the weapons was not witnessed by prosecution, jurors, defence counsel or independent witnesses.

Replying to defence Counsel's objection, Prosecution noted that Soussoudis's Counsel did not raise any objection relating to the destruction of the grenades.

"If there were any, defence counsel should have pointed out soon after the court had made the order for the destruction and request for witnesses during the destruction."

Earlier, Detective Chief Inspector Annor, who was led in evidence by Prosecution told the court that he got to know Soussoudis after he had taken over from an officer who was on transfer to Dunkwa.

Chief Inspector Annor said soon after he took over, his superiors asked him to take the grenades to the Police Armoury Training School for safekeeping and investigate accused persons weapons authorization card. According to him, the card was expected to have expired on September 30, 2000 but it had been revalidated to December 31,2000.

Detective Chief Inspector Annor said authorisation card covered only AK 47 rifles and not the grenades.

He said during his investigations he received a letter from the Armoury Training School that the grenades were posing danger. He stated this information was relayed to the court and an order was made for the destruction of the grenades.

Detective Chief Inspector Annor said he took pictures of the grenades and handed them over to the Military for its destruction. Soussoudis is facing two counts of possessing explosives, firearms and ammunition without lawful authority.

He had pleaded not guilty to all the charges and is on bail. A team of Police officers, acting upon information, searched Soussoudis residence sometime in April 2001 and allegedly discovered a quantity of arms and explosives in the boys' quarters and his main house. The case was adjourned to November 17.

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