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Koala robbery case – Mini trial ruling on May 23

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LawAn Accra Circuit Court hearing the Koala Robbery case will on May 23, rule on a mini trial conducted to ascertain whether or not statements of two of the accused were taken under duress.

This comes in the wake of defence counsel’s objection to tendering of the statements of Michael Edor Ahiataku and Frederick Sedro Kwame saying they were brutalized by the police to obtain the statement.

Defence Counsel, Mr George Asamaney argued that in the case of Ahiataku, he was tortured and forced to append his signature to the statement.

According to defence counsel due to the severe nature of the torture, he had marks all over his legs.

In the case of Kwame, Defence counsel said he did not know or see any independent witness known as Gyasi Quansah as alleged by the prosecution.

Counsel contended that due to the severity of the torture it appeared there were “something like blood stains” on the caution statement of Kwame.

Prosecuting Chief Superintendent of Police Mr Duuti Tuaruka disagreed with defence counsel that the accused persons were tortured.

Mr Tuaruka contended that their statements were offered voluntarily and it was witnessed by independent witnesses who read out their statements to them.

The accused persons; Gilbert Osabutey, Michael Edor Ahiataku aka Old soldier, a private security man, and Frederick Sedro Kwame, who have been charged with conspiracy to rob, have pleaded not guilty.

During the min trial, two independent witnesses were called and the accused persons (Ahiataku and Osabutey) testified and were cross examined in relation to how their statements were obtained.

Stanley Obaliko and Okoe Quarcoe sustained injuries during the robbery incident.

Appearing before the court, Obaliko and Quarcoe pleaded guilty to the charges of robbery.

However, the court, after listening to their explanation, entered a plea of not guilty on their behalf.

Chief Supt. Mr Duuti Tuaruka said the complainant in the case was Lydia Horsu, a Marketing Administrator with the Koala Shopping Centre who went round daily to collect the previous day’s sales to the head office.

On January 6, this year, Osabutey, Ahiataku and Kwame hatched a plan to rob the Shopping Centre and sought the assistance of the two others, now at large, who also recruited Obaliko and Quarcoe to carry it out the act.

On January 9, at about 0800hrs, the complainant went to the Koala Shopping branch at Cantonments, but she decided to pick the Company’s invoice and voucher to audit them and left for the head office at Airport.

On seeing the complainant leave the office, Osabutey alerted the accused persons through a phone call and Obaliko and Quarcoe boarded a BMW motor bike and trailed the complainant to the American Embassy area at Cantonments.

The Prosecution said Obaliko, who was then the pillion rider, alighted, drew out a pistol and pointed it at the complainant and ordered her to surrender her handbag.

Chief Supt. Tuaruka said Ms Horsu refused to comply and raised an alarm.

He said this infuriated Obaliko who pushed the complainant down and shot her twice in her thigh and calf, after which he (Obaliko) and Quarcoe sped off.

A taxi driver, who witnessed the incident, chased them with his vehicle and hit their motor bike.

Police investigations, however, led to the arrest of the rest of the accused persons.

Chief Supt Tuaruka said the victim is on admission at the 37 Military Hospital, responding to treatment.

Source: GNA

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