Crime & Punishment of 2014-01-07

Cocaine: Ghanaian, Guyanese jailed 35 years

An Accra High Court has sentenced two persons including a Ghanaian, to a total of 35 years imprisonment for their roles in importing cocaine into the country late last year.

Miller Ronald O’Neil, a Guyanese and Captain of the Guyanese ship as well as Seth Grant, a Ghanaian, were convicted on their own plea and sentenced to 20 and 15 years respectively, on each of the three counts leveled against them.

The sentences are to run concurrently.

The court handed down the sentence on the convicts looking at the gravity of the offense and the reputation of the country.

However, three others, Perceval Curt, Samuel Mornty and Saint Praimchad, all Guyanese, who were also allegedly involved in the crime and who pleaded not guilty, are expected to appear in court on January 10, to stand trial on the alleged offenses leveled against them.

They were all accused of engaging in a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence by engaging in a business relating to narcotic drugs, importation of narcotic drugs without lawful authority and possessing narcotic drugs without lawful authority.

JoyNews' Anny Osabutey, who was in court, reported that the sentence was handed down on the two convicts after a test conducted on the 414 slaps of exhibits suspected to be cocaine by Mark Ablakwa Williams, an official from the Ghana Standard Authority, turned out to be positive for narcotic drug.

The court presided over by Justice C.J. Hoenyenugah, an Appeal court judge, sitting as an additional High Court judge, ordered for the destruction of 413 slaps and the exhibits by officials from the narcotic control board, and the remaining slap left as exhibit for the trial of the remaining three accused persons.

The five were arrested in the Western region aboard a Guyanese ship, “ATIYAH, George-Town”, containing 21 bags of substances with a street value of 50 million dollars.

The ship was intercepted following a tip-off from Ghana’s international security partners.

The ship was travelling from Guyana when it was arrested and escorted by Ghana Naval Ship, Yaa Asantewaa, to the Sekondi Naval Base.