All Set For Ofosu Ampofo Trial
The prosecution is set to call its first witness on December 18 in the trial of the National Chairman of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, and a Communication Officer of the party, Anthony Kwaku Boahen.
The two are standing trial over a leaked tape that captured how the opposition NDC was allegedly planning to commit crimes in the country and turn round to blame them on the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Among the strategies were the creation of a general state of insecurity in the country through kidnappings and arson, and verbal attacks on public officials like the Chairman of the National Peace Council, Prof. Emmanuel Asante, and Electoral Commission boss, Jean Mensa.
Application seeking to strike out the witness statement of Listowel Fordjour, one of the prosecution witnesses, was yesterday dismissed by the court presided over by Justice Samuel Kwame Asiedu.
The application was filed by Dr. Bassit Aziz Bamba, lawyer for Mr. Boahen, who contended that the witness statement was filed long after the prosecution had finished disclosing documents it intended to rely on for the trial.
According to him, it has been well over six months since the prosecution filed the audio tape and other documents that they intended to rely on and cannot file another witness statement later without seeking the permission of the court.
Dr. Bamba, therefore, urged the court to strike out the witness statement based on the prosecution’s disregard for the court order and an irregularity which he said could not be waived by the court.
The application was opposed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mrs. Yvonne Atakora-Obuobisa, who argued that although the statement was filed without the permission of the court, the infraction would not infringe on the right of the accused persons to defend themselves.
She reiterated that the application to strike out the statement did not demonstrate how the admission of the witness statement would affect their defence or the rights of the accused persons.
Mrs. Atakora-Obuobisa added that it was the duty of the prosecution to file disclosures per the orders of the Supreme Court and that was what they did.
She urged the court to waive the infraction on their part and admit the witness statement.
The court dismissed the application and adopted the witness statement, saying no injustice would be occasioned the accused persons in doing so.
The judge held that the prosecution was yet to call a single witness to testify hence the trial had not ‘properly’ commenced and the prosecution could still file the document.
He added that the defence lawyers would have the opportunity to cross-examine the witness based on the statement when the trial commenced.
The two NDC officials have been charged in respect of the infamous leaked tape.
Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo has been charged with one count of conspiracy to cause harm and two counts of assault against a public officer, while Mr. Boahen is facing one count of conspiracy to cause harm.
They were both granted bail of GH¢100,000, with one surety each.
Already, Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo has on two occasions failed in his attempt to have the charges against him struck out by the court.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak