An Accra High Court presided over by Justice Abdulai Iddrisu on Thursday discharged two associate pastors of the International Godsway Ministries who were standing trial with Bishop Daniel Obinim for allegedly vandalising the property of Hot FM, an Accra-based radio station.
Pastors Kinsley Baah and Kofi Kwetey were let off the hook while their boss, Bishop Obinim, was asked to open his defence on causing harm to Kwame Ntim Okatakyie, one of the panellists of the programme Nya Asem Hwe, which was being aired at the station three years ago.
This was contained in a ruling on a submission of no case filed by counsel for the suspects, Samuel Atta Akyea, after the state had closed its case.
The bishop and founder of International Godsway Ministries was also discharged on seven counts of causing unlawful damage, unlawful entry and conspiracy to commit assault; and while the two pastors could not hide their relief at being free again, the bishop was left in a sober mood.
Giving reasons for his verdict, the trial judge said the state had failed to prove that the three suspects conspired to commit assault, adding that the burden of proving the said offence rested with the prosecution.
He stated that in view of the inability of the state to satisfy him on that count, he would discharge all the accused persons on those counts.
In addition, he said there was no evidence before him that the suspects unlawfully entered the studio premises as the panellists were discussing the Bishop; so he was discharged on that one too.
Furthermore, Justice Iddrisu said the state did not lead evidence to show that the suspects were the ones who caused unlawful damage to the property of the station because the state were unable to prove which of them damaged the said studio equipment.
Justice Iddrisu noted that the evidence before him showed there was confusion at the studio, making it unclear who actually caused damage to the studio equipment.
The judge further dismissed charges against the bishop on causing harm to some alleged victims like William Ofori Ata and other persons who failed to appear before the court to give evidence.
The judge consequently discharged the two suspects but said the evidence of Okatakyie demanded that the bishop should open his defence on causing harm.
It would be recalled that Okatakyie, in his evidence in chief, alleged that he was assaulted by the bishop and had to seek treatment in France.
Joyce Buerko Debrah was the prosecuting state attorney.
The investigator in the case, Detective Inspector Bismark Adu-Gyamfi, finished his evidence last year in which he denied claims that the crowbar allegedly used by the bishop was his invention.
The accused persons reportedly vandalised property including transmitters and amplifiers, estimated to cost GH¢130,580.
BY Fidelia Achama
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