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General News of Thursday, 1 November 2018

Source: Mckyntosh Essuman Aidoo

NCA officials' trial: State begs for in-camera hearing for witness

An Accra Commercial High Court hearing the case of willfully causing financial loss to the State against former officials of the National  Communication Authority became heated when the Director Of Public Prosecution, Yvonne Attakora pleaded with the court for an in-camera hearing for the third prosecution witness, a plea which did not go down well with lawyers for accused persons.

She based her argument on Article 19 (15) of the 1992 constitution and added that third witness, a national security operative should be heard in chambers in the interest of national security and safety of the state.

Lawyers for the accused including Thaddeus Sory for the First accused, Samuel Cudjoe, for the third accused person, and Baffuor Asase-Gyimah for the fourth accused person, however, disagreed with the application, describing it as premature and undermines the current proceeding where other witnesses were heard and cross-examined in the public gallery.

Justice Eric Kyei Baffuor, in his usual self, heckled lawyers for the accused anytime one rose to argue against the application for in-camera hearing, as though he was already in support of the application already.

The Judge sensing discomfort from his right-hand side where lawyers for the accused were seated, look to their direction and said, "you know I like to heckle you guys a lot but it's okay let's continue" to a murmur from the audience.

The application by the Director of Public Prosecution for in-camera hearing for the third prosecution witness was later granted by Justice Kyei Baffuor.

The next in-camera hearing is slated for Thursday 1st November 2018.

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