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Crime & Punishment of Tuesday, 21 June 2016


I’ll be beaten to pulp by police - Accused tells court

There was drama at the Accra Circuit Court on Monday when an accused person pleaded with the court not to allow him to travel in a police vehicle that had brought him to court because he would be beaten to pulp.

“My Lord, they will kill me. They will beat me to death. I don’t want to go in that car,” Joseph Lartey pleaded on his knees.

Moved by Lartey’s pleas, the presiding judge, Mrs Abena Oppong Adjin-Doku, ordered the police to find an alternative means of transport, even if it meant using a commercial vehicle, to take him to the Nungua Police Station where he is being held in custody for defilement.

The police said they had no alternative means of transport and no money to find one.

“You can send him to the Tema Station and board a ‘trotro’ with him. But he must pay for it,” the judge said.

Lartey agreed to call his relatives to pay the fare for him and the policeman.

Lartey alleged that a police detective, Mr Samuel Nyantakyi, had given him severe beatings while bringing him to court last Monday because he (Lartey) had dared to ask for his money which had been taken from him when he was arrested.

But Mr Nyantakyi denied the allegation, insisting that he was a professional police officer who would not indulge in such conduct.

Earlier, Lartey, while cross-examining the investigator, Corporal Emmanuel Dodzi, in the case in which he (Lartey) has been accused of defilement, had alleged that the investigator had written a statement and asked him to thumbprint it.

Although he struggled to speak English, Lartey insisted on doing the cross-examination in English, although the court had made available to him a Ga interpreter.

Sounding repetitive and off the cuff at times, Lartey accused the police of falsifying his statement and compelling him to thumbprint it.

He also faulted the police for leaving him in cells for five days, only to bring him out to thumbprint the statement, although he could write because he had completed basic school.

His occasional use of “I put it to you” and bad grammar threw the courtroom into fits of laughter.

The investigator, in his evidence, told the court that Lartey, who spoke Ga when he was arrested, had decided to give his caution statement in Twi.

He said he took the statement in Twi and translated it into English, with Mr Nyantakyi serving as an independent witness.

But Lartey insisted that he did not speak Twi and asked the police officer to show evidence of him speaking the language.

Corporal Dodzi, while admitting that he could not produce evidence of the accused person speaking Twi, said there were people with whom the accused had spoken the language.

When Mr Nyantakyi took the witness stand, he told the court that he was present when the investigator took a caution statement from Lartey and translated it to him before he (Mr Nyantakyi) and the accused thumbprinted it.

Lartey, who insisted that Mr Nyantakyi was not around when he (Lartey) thumbprinted the statement, asked the police officer to tell the court the apparel he was wearing on that day.

When the witness mentioned the clothing, Lartey shook his head vigorously, insisting that it was not true.

The substantive case is yet to begin

The case has been adjourned to June 28, 2016