Miss Audrey Kokuvi Tay, a Circuit Court Judge hearing the case of Christian Asem Darkeh, the alleged importer of ‘the MV Benjamin cocaine,’ on Wednesday appealed to the Attorney-General’s (A-G) Department to be sensitive to human rights of accused persons.
The request followed failure of the State prosecution to appear in court to begin the trial and the fact that nobody was assigned by the Department to hold brief for the substantive legal officer.
Miss Tay said the sensitive nature of the case made it difficult for the court to grant bail to the accused since its hands were tied.
Mr George Heward-Mills, counsel for Darkeh, expressed worry, and said continuous detention of his client was an infringement on his fundamental human rights and freedom.
The counsel said since the accused was arrested, the State had continuously ambushed him though his client had not been found guilty of any crime.
Mr Heward-Mills said since the case started, the prosecution had asked for many adjournments to complete investigations yet it had still not completed enquiries to be present in court.
He said despite the court’s apprehension with regard to the sensitive nature of the case, the trial judge must be bold to grant the accused bail since this was not the first time accused persons had been granted bail in such matters.
Mr Heward-Mills asked the court to take a serious view of the matter at the next sitting and deal with it as it deemed fit.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) A.A. Annor, told the court that Mrs Yvonne Obuobisa at the Department has been asked to take over the prosecution.
He said because Mrs Obuobisa attended a seminar at the last adjourned date, she could not appear in court.
The judge said since the prosecution was not present in court, she was compelled to adjourn the case at the instance of the A-G’s representative, and subsequently adjourned the matter to Wednesday, April 18.
Sometime in April 2006, intelligence report indicated that a shipping vessel, MV Benjamin had been spotted on the high seas carrying about 77 parcels of cocaine heading towards Ghana’s coast.
On the midnight of April 26, 2006, the vessel docked at Kpone/Tema and discharged the cocaine, which was off-loaded into a waiting vehicle and taken away.
DSP Annor said investigations led to the arrest of some suspects, who were tried, convicted and sentenced to various prison terms.
He said during investigations, Darkeh’s name featured prominently as the importer and owner of the cocaine as well as the person who sent the MV Benjamin from Ghana, and paid $150,000 to use another vessel from Guinea.
DSP Annor said the accused took the cocaine parcels away upon arrival of the ship at Kpone.
She said on February 2, this year, the accused was arrested at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra upon a tip-off after being on the run since 2006.