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09.09.2005 Crime & Punishment

Two jailed and fined for illegal mining and assault.

GNA

Asamankese (E/R), Sept 09, GNA - Two illegal miners in police cells who assaulted an inmate for refusing to pay them "cell fees" have been sentenced to a total fine of 2.9 million cedis by the Asamankese Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Kwame Delasi and Abu Sulley pleaded guilty to illegal mining and assaulting Kwame Antwi and were fined 1.8 million cedis and 1.1 million cedis respectively and would in addition go to prison for a week each. Delasi would in default serve 12 months in prison and 9 months for Sulley.

Prosecuting, Detective Police Chief Inspector Eric Okyere told the court that the accused were arrested by security men of the Ghana Consolidated Diamonds at Akwatia on August 26 for mining on their Anikyekye concession and were sent to the police station where they were placed in custody.

While in custody Kwame Antwi, a remand prisoner from Nsawam Prisons, joined them. The two demanded 20,000 cedis "cell fees" from him and his plea that he did not have any money did not please them. Delasi took a broom, dipped it in the cell's toilet bucket and smeared Antwi with it after which they subjected him to severe beatings. Chief Inspector Okyere said they lifted him and brought him crashing heavily on the floor.

The noise attracted policemen on duty at the counter and when they opened the cells, Antwi was found unconscious on the floor and the police poured water on him to revive him. When the judge, Mr Kofi Akrowiah, asked the accused why they demanded the 20,000 cedis cell fees, they replied, amidst laughter, that they also paid that amount to the inmates they met in the cells. Passing sentence, Mr Akrowiah said the demand confirmed the rumour by other inmates and said the authorities should take the issue serious to avoid a catastrophe in the cells one day. 09 Sept 05

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