General News of Tue, 10 Apr 20187

2 Kwabenya jailbreakers get 66 months

An Accra Circuit Court yesterday sentenced two more persons who escaped from the Kwabenya Police Cells to 66 months imprisonment.

The two, Kofi Darko, aka Kofi Duku, 25, trader and Emmanuel Kotey, 24, motor rider on March 20, 2018, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit crime, to wit escape from lawful custody contrary to the Criminal and Other Offences Law (Act 29, 1960).

They were subsequently convicted on their own plea by the court, presided over by Aboagye Tandoh.

The convicts were among seven people, who were released from police custody after six armed men allegedly stormed the police station on January 21, 2018 at about 1:30am and killed Inspector Emmanuel Ashilevi.

The court took into consideration their plea for mercy, time spent in custody since their arrest, and that fact they pleaded guilty to the offences.

Kofi Darko, who had spent two months in custody since his arrest, was sentenced to 32 months’ imprisonment on both counts to run concurrently.

His accomplice, Emmanuel Kotey, who was the last suspect to be arrested in connection with the case and has been in custody for 20 days, was sentenced to 34 months’ imprisonment on both counts to run concurrently.

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This brings to four, the number of persons who have been jailed since they escaped from lawful custody in January.

Prince Osei aka Bebe and Atta Kwadzo in February pleaded guilty to the charges of conspiracy to commit crime to wit escape from lawful custody and were convicted on their plea.

They were sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment each in hard labour.



Substituted Charges

The prosecution, led by Superintendent Kwaku Bempah, has substituted the charges against the accused persons following the conviction and sentencing of the two convicts.

Per the new charges, 10 persons are before the court for their various roles in the escape of the inmates from lawful custody.

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Prince Osei pleaded not guilty to a charge of possession of firearm without lawful authority while Prince Kofi Acheampong also pleaded not guilty to abetment of crime to wit possession of firearm and ammunition without lawful authority.

The rest Nancy Dentah, George Yeboah, Kofi Acheampog, Edward Lartey, Kofi Seshie, George Sarbah, Elvis Owusu, George Asante and Theophilus Bandah, all pleaded not guilty to the charge of abetment to escape from lawful custody.

Trial

The police called their first prosecution witness, who told the court how the accused persons allegedly stormed the police station and freed their colleagues.

General Lance Corporal Owusu Roberts, who was on duty as counter Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) on the night of the attack, told the court that because of the sporadic firing of guns by the suspects, he did not look into the faces of the suspects who stormed the police station.

He said prior to the trial, he did not know any of the suspects, except Prince Osei and Nancy Dentah.

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He narrated that he was on duty on January 21, 2018 when a gentleman came to the police station to lodge a complaint but after listening to him, he suggested that he should go to the court since the matter was a civil one.

He said few minutes later, he heard gunshots from the compound of the police station and decided to take cover by lying prostrate on the floor.

General Lance Corporal Roberts stated that while on the floor, he heard footsteps and later heard voices, stating that they demanded the keys afterwards.

The police officer said out of fear, he threw the keys to the accused persons and did not look them in the face.

“Few minutes later I heard that Inspector (now ASP) Ashilevi had been shot. We called an ambulance to assist us and he was taken to the police hospital,” the witness told the court.

During cross-examination, he told the court that the cell break did not take more than 10 minutes and that there were five other police officers on duty on the night of the incident, including the deceased.

The prosecution said it would call five more witnesses.

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Hearing continues today.

Background

Six armed men raided the police station on January 21, 2018 at about 1:30am to free seven inmates from cells, killing Inspector Emmanuel Ashilevi in the process.

They took the keys to the police cells and released seven inmates- Chibuzor Akwuba, Emmanuel Kotey, Rockson Edem Dzidegbe, Dickson Ofori, Prince Osei, Atta Kwadzo and Kofi Darko.

Twelve persons, who have since been arrested in connection with the attack, have been put before the court.

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