An Accra Circuit Court yesterday threw out a DAILY GUIDE publication tendered as evidence in the trial of the 11 persons arrested over the raid and ransacking of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) offices.
The court presided over by Mrs Ruby Adjeley Quayson upheld the objection raised by the prosecution after it had questioned its evidential value in the trial.
Abdul Aziz Mohammed, lawyer for the 11 persons, sought to tender the Friday, November 27, 2015 edition of the paper with the banner headline, “Raid In NPP Office”, as evidence.
The lawyer of the accused persons tendered the newspaper as evidence to discredit the assertion of Robert Essuman, a witness in the trial, that one of the accused persons, Bismark Osei Danso, a 58-year-old contractor/ex-soldier, was in a military uniform during the supposed raid at the party offices.
He said the law was that newspapers were generally presumed to be authentic.
Aziz Mohammed said the court ought to take judicial notice of the facts of the story as written by the paper, emphasising that the witness had also identified the person on the front page of the paper as Danso.
However, the prosecution, led by DSP Abraham Annor, objected the tendering of the newspaper.
He argued that Essuman was not the editor of the newspaper, nor was he the one who took the photograph and as such was unable to speak to it as evidence.
DSP Annor insisted that the witness did not know when and where the supposed picture of the accused in a wine long sleeves shirt was snapped.
Mrs Quayson, as a result, rejected the tendering of the document.
Not Credible Witness
Aziz Mohammed, who was cross-examining the witness, asked Essuman who claimed he was a caretaker at the NPP headquarters if he knew about the Invincible Forces of the party.
He said he did not know anything about Invincible Forces but Aziz Mohammed said he was not a credible witness in the trial.
The lawyer opined that the witness was denying a well known fact.
Sitting continues today.
The prosecution is expected to bring its second witness.
Danso, the purported ringleader of the suspected soldiers, and the other 10 were arrested for invading the NPP headquarters.
He reportedly mobilised eight retired soldiers resident at Kakasunanka near Michelle Camp near Tema, dressed them in military uniforms and took them to the NPP headquarters between the hours of 1:30 and 2:30 am on November 23, 2015.
The other accused persons are Kwame Adu Annan, Nii Teiko Ayi-Bontey, Shamzi Dinni, Obed Yawson Danso, Ali Iddris, 24, unemployed, Razak Ebenezer Aduful, Abdul Wudu, Rakia Ali Mohammed and Ben Okyere.
They have denied the charges of unlawful entry, unlawful purpose on private premises and causing unlawful damage to the tune of GH¢28,000.
The accused persons are each on a GH¢10,000 bail with two sureties.
They are also to execute a bail bond to be of good behaviour or in default serve three months in jail.
The accused persons were arrested upon information that some soldiers had invaded the NPP headquarters and were causing damage to properties at the party’s headquarters.
The police went to the scene and Danso and 10 others in red T-shirts with the inscription “United Patriots” were arrested.
The prosecution said Danso claimed the soldiers had information that the Invincible Forces at the NPP Headquarters had weapons on them and needed to be disarmed before they organised a peace meeting between the executives of the party and the suspended national chairman of the party.
In addition, he said Danso mobilised 480 youth supporters from all the 10 regions to come to the party headquarters and support them since they would organise a press conference, adding that when the retired soldiers got to the place, they took the security men hostage and locked them in the security room.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson