You are here: HomeNews1999 01 22Article 4698

General News of Friday, 22 January 1999

Source: --

Kofi Coomson changes counsel

Accra (Greater Accra), 22 Jan. '99 -- Kofi Coomson, editor-in-chief of the "Ghanaian Chronicle" charged with publishing an article likely to injure the reputation of the country, today told a circuit court that he has appointed Mr Akoto Ampaw as his new solicitor, in place of Mr Emmanuel Ohene. The presiding judge, Mr Victor Ofoe, therefore, adjourned the case to February one to enable accused to brief his new counsel. Mr Ampaw is already defending Eben Quarcoo, former editor of the "Free Press", charged with the same offence. Coomson and Quarcoo, who have pleaded not guilty and are each on a 10-million cedis bail, are being tried for publishing in their papers that the NDC government was dealing in narcotic drugs and that it would have used the proceeds to purchase arms to destabilise the country if it had lost the 1996 general elections.

While the trial was going on, Mr Ampaw filed a motion asking the court to abort the trial, and acquit and discharge the accused, because President Rawlings had allegedly made public statements on the subject-matter of the trial. Mr Ampaw contended that the statements were prejudicial and that the accused persons would not get fair trial. Mr Martin Amidu, Deputy Attorney-General, opposed the motion on the grounds that it had no merit and that it was the intention of defence counsel to delay the trial. The court fixed Tuesday, January 26, for ruling.