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General News of Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Source: starrfmonline.com

NCA CASE: Defence Lawyers oppose State’s witness


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Defence lawyers in the case of the Republic versus Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie and four others, are opposing the admittance of the fifth (5th) prosecution witness of the State Duncan Opare.

According to defence lawyers, details as captured on his witness statement shows that if he is allowed to testify, he will pose a threat to the right of the accused persons to a fair trial.

The defence team is also arguing that the statement of the 5th prosecution witness is an attempt by State prosecutors to disavow evidence given by previous witnesses who have already appeared before the Court.

In an enquiry, the presiding Judge, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, asked why the defence team is opposed to evidence that according to them will likely contradict previous evidence given by other witnesses of the State. He opined that if anything, they should rather be excited about the evidence of the witness because it would certainly go in their favour.

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Yvonne Atakora Buabisa, in her argument in opposition to the call by the defence team, said thus far, the State has afforded all five accused persons every relevant document they require and also the right and opportunity to cross examine four witnesses who have already appeared before the Court.

Additionally, she observed that disclosure in a criminal trial can and ought to be a continuous process throughout the trial and not a one-off event. In her conclusion, the DPP said the objections raised by the defence team are completely unfounded and should not be entertained by the Court.

The witness, she said, should be allowed to testify.

Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, in his ruling said he understands the substance of the objection of the defence team to the evidence of the 5th prosecution witness.

He argued that the claim by the defence team that the testimony of the 5th prosecution witness is an attempt by the State to repair the gaps in the evidence given by their previous witnesses is totally unfounded and cannot be the basis for which the Court will moderate the persons that the prosecution calls in support of their case.

To this end, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour dismissed the application of the defence team. The learned judge additionally ruled that due to the timelines within which the witness statement of the 5th prosecution witness was served on the defence team, he will adjourn the case to allow the defence to peruse the statement and to also have conference with their clients to adequately prepare to cross examine the 5th prosecution witness.

The Court subsequently adjourned sitting to the 5th of February, 2019.

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