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General News of Thursday, 7 February 2008

Source: GNA

Hot exchanges at Osei trial

Accra, Feb.7, GNA - There was hot exchanges in court between Ms. Getrude Aikins, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and Mr. Kwame Boafo Akuffo, Counsel for Thomas Osei, the man at the centre of the President's car accident.

The exchanges ensued between the two following comments from Mr Akuffo suggesting that the DPP at the last sitting told the court she was unwell and that the matter had to be adjourned for the next three weeks only to learn that the DPP was at the Appeal Court pursuing another case.

Mr Gertrude Aikins, who did not take kindly to Mr Akuffo's comments rejected the claims of the Defence and insisted that Mr Akuffo was out to cause mischief and also misinform the public.

She said she went to the Appeal Court to present written addresses and that she they did not argue on the case as claimed by Mr Akuffo. She asked that the High court checked with the Appeal Court and clear any doubt in the minds of the people because her integrity was on the line.

Mr Justice Emmanuel Ayebi, the presiding judge who was not happy with additional comments from both sides had to intervene to bring the two Counsels to order.

He asked whether there was any enmity between both Counsels, adding that he does not understand why this matter should bring bad blood between the Defence and Prosecution.

Thomas Osei 51, a business man and the person at the centre of the President's car accident has been charged with five counts of motor traffic offences, use of narcotic drugs and failing to change ownership of the vehicle.

The charges include dangerous driving, negligently causing harm, driving under the influence of alcohol, failing to give way to Presidential siren and the use of narcotic drugs.

The President escaped unhurt.

He pleaded not guilty to all the charges leveled against him. Rev. King Joe Osei Kufour of the All of Faith Ministries, the third prosecution witness, who continued with his evidence, rejected claims from Mr Akuffo that his evidence was not an accurate reflection on what happened on that day.

He also refuted claims from Defence Counsel that because he did not suffer any serious injury that was why doctors at the 37 Military treated and discharged him that day. Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mr Emmanuel Asante of the VVIP unit and fourth Prosecution Witness during cross-examination by Mr Akuffo told the court that all motorbikes and cars in the President's convoy were all fitted with sirens.

He said the sirens most of the time starts from President's residents till the convoy gets to the entrance of the Castle. Asked by Defence Counsel whether after the accident the formation of the President convoy had change, he said, he was not aware and for security reasons he was not prepared to give any further details. Mr Emmanuel Sarfo Addo, an employee of the State Protocol and the President's driver told the court that because the car was heavy the people around helped to put it back on the road. He said after the car had been put back on the road it was his Aide De Camp (ADC) who got down to open the door. He said initially, he did not want to go to the hospital but it was a Police Patrol team who took him to the 37 Military Hospital for treatment.

He said, even though he had a swollen leg and pains on the shoulder, the X-ray from the doctors did not show any fracture.

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