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16.06.2005 Crime & Punishment

Court acquits Soussoudis

GNA

Accra, June 16, GNA - An Accra Fast Track High Court on Thursday acquitted and discharged Michael Soussoudis, an economist charged with two counts of the unlawful possession of explosives, firearms and ammunition. This was after a seven-member jury had entered a plea of not guilty on Soussoudis who had pleaded not guilty. Earlier, Soussoudis' Counsel led by Mr Amponsah Dadzie made a submission of no case soon after prosecution had called on him to open his defence.

The court in its ruling on a submission of no case acquitted Sousssoudis saying the prosecution, in proving its case against the accused rather proved his innocence. "Prosecution had failed to prove the guilt of the accused. Indeed the prosecution proved the innocence of the accused and therefore the court cannot call on the accused to open his defence. "Mr Sousssoudis, the jury have entered a verdict, not guilty, the court therefore acquit and discharge you," the court presided over Mr Justice Aryeetey declared.

Ruling on the submission of no case the court noted that prosecution was able to prove that Mr Soussoudis had in possession the firearms but failed to prove that he was keeping them unlawfully. The court noted that as at the time of Mr Soussoudis arrest, he had Police permits covering the firearms in addition to a weapon authorization certificate, which exonerated him.

According to the court, a weapon authorization certificate issued by the then Chief of Staff indicated that all sort of weapons were covered, an evidence which, the prosecution witnesses corroborated. Mr Dadzie thanked prosecution for proving the innocence of the accused. "My Lord this case was dragged for five years only to prove the accused innocence, we are in deed grateful." The case for the Prosecution was that a team of security men acting upon a tip-off searched the premises of Soussoudis in Accra sometime in April 2001 where a quantity of explosives, military kits and magazines were discovered at the main building and the boys' quarters (out house).

The Prosecution said the security men conducted a further search by using a detector for firearms. Another search was conducted on him and some more weapons were retrieved. During interrogation, Soussoudis could not offer any explanation.

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