General News of Fri, 27 Feb 20040
Court of Appeal to rule on bails for drug barons on March 3
Accra Feb. 26, GNA - The Court of Appeal (CA) would on Wednesday, March 3, rule on an appeal filed by the State against the decision of an Accra Regional Tribunal to granted bail to six alleged drug barons arrested with 675 kilograms of cocaine at Tema.
This was after the CA had heard submissions from Counsel on both sides. The accused are: Kevin Gorman, 59, American; Mohammed Ibrahim Kamil, Ghanaian; and Alan Hodson 45, David Logan 43, and Frank Lavelrick 43, all British nationals, and 45-year-old Sven Herb, German.
They are accused of conspiring and possessing a large cache of narcotic drug without authority.
Gorman was additionally charged with using his house for narcotic offence.
The six accused persons have pleaded not guilty. Each of them has been granted a 300 million cedis bail with two sureties to be justified. The three-member panel of the court was made up of Mr Justice Stephen T. Farkye, Presiding, with Mr Justice R. T Aninakwah and Mr Justice J. Dotse as members.
Responding to the submissions of the State, today, Mr Ellis Owusu-Fordwuoh, who represented Kamil, said the trial judge did not err in granting bail to his client.
Counsel stated that the trial Judge performed his legal duty by using his discretion to grant bail to the accused persons adding that he considered the law before granting the application for bail. He said his client, a Ghanaian, had a fixed place of abode and was able to satisfy the bail conditions offered him by the Regional Tribunal. Mr Owusu-Fordwuoh, therefore, prayed the court to dismiss the appeal. Mr Koblah Senanu, who represented Herb, argued that his client was married to a Ghanaian lady, whom he had two issues with, and, therefore, had a fixed place of abode in Tema.
Counsel submitted a tenancy agreement to the court to show that his client was staying in Ghana.
He said his client was staying in Tema with his family, and therefore felt that it was wrong for the Chief State Attorney to describe some of the accused persons on trial as not having fixed places of abode.
"All the submissions made by the State were speculative, Counsel, submitted, adding: "It was just staking lotto."
Consequently, he prayed the Court to dismiss the appeal. Mr Senanu contended that whenever a trial court exercised its discretion in a case, the decision could only be revoked if it was found out that the trial court erred.
Mr Addo Atuah and Mr Thaddeus Sory, who represented the rest of the accused persons, submitted their written responses to the court. On February 20, this year, appearing before CA, Mr Anthony Gyambiby, Chief State Attorney, told the court that the Regional Tribunal did not consider the gravity and seriousness of the offence, although it accepted the tribunal's reasons.
"Accused person were arrested with 675 kilograms of cocaine and I would like to urge the court to take judicial notice of the global collaborative efforts on drug trafficking and its effects," he stated. Mr Gyambiby said the Regional Tribunal did not find out whether the accused persons really had fixed places of abode, but only relied on verbal applications made by their Counsel.
"Applications for bail should have been filed and the Court should have been certain of their fixed places of abode before granting them bail." Mr Gyambiby said sureties of the accused person should have been independent and of good character.
"How can the tribunal look at a surety and be satisfied," he asked. He said although bail was discretional, the tribunal should have looked at the circumstances before granting bail, adding, "nations worldwide are taking steps to fight drug trafficking."
On January 7 2004 the accused persons were arrested by security personnel at Tema, with large quantities of drugs, believed to be cocaine.