19.09.2005 Crime & Punishment

Serial Killer or Scapegoat

By Larry-Alans Dogbey (The Enquirer)
Serial Killer or Scapegoat
19.09.2005 LISTEN

One: He was arrested in Adenta, in the Greater Accra Region, for murdering his girlfriend Joyce Boateng, in July, 2000, but he was prosecuted for the murder of a certain Akua Serwaa, who was found dead around Kumasi Sports Stadium, in Kumasi, in the Ashanti Region, in January 19, 1996. Two: Whilst in Custody, Police claim he reportedly confessed to murdering nine out of the 34 women who were serially killed in Accra but was again tried for only one. Three: Charles Qunasah, the suspected serial killer was pronounced guilty by an Accra High Court on the basis of a doubtful lie detector test administered on him as well as state prosecutors, claim that he confessed to the serial killing. Four: Quansah, has, however denied responsibility for the horrific serial killing and called for a judicial enquiry into his trial. Now: The Enquirer's ongoing investigations has revealed that during Qaunsah?s trial, the Police disregarded a subpoena issued by the High Court to produce the said lie detector used on Quansah as well as the alleged confession tape recording. The Court subpoenaed the police to produce the lie detector and the confession tapes to back their claim that the suspect was, indeed, guilty of the charges leveled against him. The document titled 'Subpoena Duce Tecum (General Form)' issued at the High Court Criminal Session, Accra, Court 6, dated July 9, 2002 and signed on behalf of the then Chief Justice, Edward K. Wiredu, ordered the then Commissioner of Police (CID), Patrick K. Acheampong, now Inspector-General of Police (IGP), to appear before the trial judge, Mrs. Justice Agnes Dordzie, to produce the said items. 'You are hereby commanded to attend before Judge at High Court Criminal Sessions, Accra, Court 6 on Thursday, the 11th day of July, 2002, at the hour of 9am in the fore noon, and so from day to day until the above cause is tried, to give evidence on behalf of the Accused person, and also bring with you and produce at the time and place aforesaid: 1 The Lie Detector used on the Accused person
2 Various Statements made by Accused Person before 8th May, 2001.
3 The Tape Recording of the Confession?? Even though Mr. Acheampong, failed to obey the directives of the court to appear and produce the said materials as requested, Justice Agnes Dordzi, did not cite him for contempt of court as is usually the case when one shows gross disrespect towards the court. Legal experts who have commented on the issue say Mr. Acheampong?s failure to be present in court over an important national issue like the murder of 34 women should have attracted a charge of contempt of court which should have landed him in jail. The experts who pleaded anonymity told The Enquirer that Mrs. Justice Dordzi, should have issued a bench warrant to arrest Mr. Acheampong, put him in custody and be produced upon request. They were, therefore, surprised why the judge allowed the proceedings to go on without the presence of the witness and such vital materials which would erase any shred of doubts about the police investigations and the trial itself. While some argued that the ends of justice would have been met better if Mrs. Justice Dordzi had written directly to Ernest Owusu Poku, then Inspector of Police (IGP), to compel Mr. Acheampong to appear after his failure to obey the directive, others thought that she (the judge) might not have deemed his (Mr. Acheampong) presence very vital in the trial. IGP SPEAKS When The Enquirer contacted Mr. Acheampong, he said he could not remember seeing any subpoena during his term of office at the CID Headquarters. He postulated that the document might have been served on the Legal Directorate, the official counsel for the Police Service. Head of Police Public Relations Deputy Superintendent David Senanu Eklu, who spoke to The Enquirer after speaking to the IGP, said Mr. Acheampong explained to him that he did not see the subpoena, possibly because it was not served on him directly. "It would have been served on the IGP and handled by the Legal Directorate on his behalf, or the Attorney General's Department might have handled it," he guessed. Asked whether the IGP could have produced the said lie detector if the subpoena had been served on him directly, he was emphatic that the Ghana Police Service does not have the device, hence he (Mr. Acheampong), could not have produced it in court if he had appeared.
"As far as I am aware, the Police CID does not have a lie detector, and has not used one before to the best of my knowledge," he told The Enquirer in a follow up telephone interview. QUANSAH'S LAWYER His lawyer, Joseph Obliquaye Amui of Tetterley Chambers, when contacted, confirmed that he caused a subpoena to be issued to compel the Commissioner of Police CID to come to court with the said Lie Detector used on Quansah and statements he gave to the interrogators before May 8 as well as tape recordings of the confession during interrogation but the Commissioner Police CID, never showed up.
The subpoena, counsel said, was issued after Quansah hinted him of a possible use of a Lie Detector machine on him by the police in the presence of some white men believed to be officials of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
Counsel said he wanted the lie detector test to be administered on Quansah in the full glare of the court for the court to note its results.
The 72-year-old man told The Enquirer that his family, colleague lawyers and friends were unhappy with him for opting to represent the accused person upon a request from the Legal Aid Board, adding that he was of the view 'there has been a miscarriage of justice.' According to him, true justice would have been served if the trial judge had compelled the CID boss to appear with the materials.
Qaunsah's counsel said during the trial, he faced an uphill task as a result of the many issues, including having a female judge sitting on the case and the publications of numerous pictures of Charles Quansah which likened him to Dr. Ram Beckley, a medical doctor and an occultist who was prosecuted for possessing human parts. These, among others, he said, prejudiced the trial long before it commenced.
He also confirmed seeing torture marks on his client, which he (Quansah) told him he suffered in the hands of the police interrogators when he was in custody.
"They (police) had a list of the victims (murdered women) and beating him severely to admit killing them. He said they used pliers to clip his skin on many occasions, and asked him to admit to killing the women," he said.
He denied the claim that his client is insane, and added that the confession statements, if any, were not voluntary but was taken under duress. "He did not appear insane to me. He is just like you, very lucid," he said.
Mr. Amui disclosed to The Enquirer that he is yet to be paid his fees by the Legal Aid Board, three clear years after the trial, and insisted that although he drew the judge?s attention to the torture marks, and produced a witness to prove a case of the inhumane treatment meted out on Quansah, she disregarded their claim.
Mr. Amui, who was a member of the Special Investigation Board (SIB) that investigated the murder of the three High Court Judges and the retired military officer, believes strongly that his client is innocent, and that a comprehensive investigation by the police would have nailed the real killers. NANA OYE LITHUR On the subpoena, she told The Enquirer that failure to respond to it is a serious crime against the court, and advised Quansah's counsel, to go for an appeal against the conviction if he feels he has a genuine case to determine his fate. THE SERIAL KILLINGS For three years, the country was held to ransom with people, especially women, afraid to stay outdoors after 9 pm as a result of what came to be known as the serial killing of women in Accra.
Post mortem examination records available at the Police Hospital, and sited by this reporter, indicated that the victims were mostly found lying in supine positions with their legs widely opened with blood or substances which had the semblance of semen on their private parts. Also described as "Ritual Murders", the Spintex Road, Kwabenya, Asylum Down, Kisseman, Teshie, Adenta, Achimota, Adabraka and Dansoman, were among the areas where some of the dead bodies were located. Mataheko, a suburb of Accra, was the worse hit community. THE SUSPECT LIST Interestingly, when the then Minister for Interior, (NDC government) Nii Okaija Adamafio (MP) and then then IGP, Peter Nanfuri, released the names of the suspected serial killers in Parliament, Quansah's name was not included. One Leopold Mawuli Anka, was a name released by the then government as one of the key suspects.

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