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Politics of Thursday, 22 October 2020


Canadian kidnappers trial: Court to hear Canadian parents evidence through conference call

The two students were in Kumasi to participate in a youth programme when they were kidnapped The two students were in Kumasi to participate in a youth programme when they were kidnapped

The Criminal Division of the Accra High Court would on November 27 hold a conference call to hear testimonies of the parents of the two Canadians who were kidnapped in Kumasi in June last year.

The two students, Miss Lauren Patricia Catherine Tiley aged 19, and Miss Bailey Jordan Chilley aged 19, were in Kumasi to participate in a youth programme on June 4, 2019, when they were kidnapped.

Four persons standing trial in the matter including Sampson Agharlor, aka Romeo, Elvis Ojiyorwe, Jeff Omarsar and Yusif Yakubu have all been charged with conspiracy to kidnap, two counts of kidnapping and an unlawful improvement.

They have all pleaded not guilty to the offence.

So far, the victims have been heard in court through conference calls.

Prosecution led by Hilda Craig, a Senior State Attorney told the court that the testimonies of the two would be brief.

Witness discharged

In court on Thursday, the first Prosecution Witness in the case Gerarld Osei Tutu, an officer of the Bureau of National Communication was discharged after he was subjected to further cross-examination by Longinus Chinedu, counsel for Aggarlor, (A1).

The witness told the court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo that the three of the four accused persons all mentioned Agharlor as their leader.

He said he would normally arrange with them to brief them on specific time during the day and discuss the plan and the welfare of the kidnapped ladies.

He also rejected counsel for Agharlor’s assertion that his testimony to the court was his own fabrication to get Agharlor his client punished.

He denied counsel’s further suggestion that all three accused persons other than his client mentioned one Mohammed as being their leader and not Agharlor.

When asked to tell the court what his evidence on data analyses he carried out on the SIM cards retrieved from the accused persons was, he said on every device there is an International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) that keeps records.

He added that, “this is a unique number given to every cell device that enables you to make calls such as phones, tablets and helps to retrieve information.”

Before telling the court that, he did not generate that information therefore for counsel to suggest that evidence was incorrect.

Further cross-examination

On whether the SIM cards analysed were registered in Agaharlor’s name he said SIM cards that are used within the telecommunication space have an inherent number of registrations mostly not in the user’s name.

He also told the court that he didn’t see Agharlor at the scene where the Canadian ladies were held, hostage.

He said Yussif (A4) was the one who mentioned A1, as the leader of the operation as were the other two and further mentioned him (Agharlor) as their leader in the presence of himself (witness) “some other colleagues of mine and Yussif himself.”

When it was put to him that Yussif never mentioned the name of Agahrlor (A1), but rather one Mohammed as the one in charge, the witness responded in the negative.

“My Lord that is not correct. Yussif indicated that their leader always arranges a call around 8am and communicates with them about the well-being of the ladies. So at that point, we quickly brought Yussif phone and exactly around the same time A1 called.

“We have earlier prepared Yussif to arrange a meeting at Nsawam which he did and when the two met we arrested A1 and ceased all his phones,” he told the court.

According to him, information on these phones corroborated the intelligence they have gathered from Yussif.

At this point, counsel signalled to the court, the end of his cross-examination. While Agharlor was represented by Longinus Chinedu, Ojiyorwe and Omarsars were not represented by counsel. Yakubu said he will represent himself.

The brief facts accompanying the charges were read to the court by Senior State Attorney Hilda Craig after their pleas were earlier retaken.