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Crime & Punishment of Monday, 17 January 2022


Trial of alleged coup plotters: You added your own words – Defense counsel to transcriber

The High Court Complex in Accra The High Court Complex in Accra

Coup trial adjourned to January 25, 2022

Defense counsel challenges professionalism of transcriber

Ten accused of plotting government overthrow

The cross examination of Eric Isaac Osei, sixth prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of 10 alleged coup plotters has come to an end.

The witness was finally discharged from the dock on Monday, January 17, 2022, having given his testimony and being taken through cross examination by the defense counsel.

On Tuesday, defense counsel, Victor Kwadjoga Adawudu challenged the language expert on his professionalism in transcribing and translating the video and audio files brought to court as evidence by the prosecution.

According to the defense counsel, the lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Languages was not supposed to add commentary to his work. He cited various portions of the transcript which contained comments by the transcribing team.

When the defense lawyer posed a question, “in doing a professional work like this, you are supposed to translate and transcribe exactly what you have heard,” Mr Osei responded in the affirmative.

The lawyer then further went on to suggest to the witness that he was not supposed to add any comment to his work.

But the witness in his response said they put all comments in brackets as a guide to give a reader context to the transcript.

Referencing some exhibits which contained comments made by the translation and transcribing team, the defense lawyer put it to the witness that such commentaries including summaries were not part of the content of the video and audio files but were words of the witness added to cast a “slant” to the content.

The witness however maintained that the comments were clearly differentiated from the statements of the individuals in the tapes and that such commentaries are only meant to give a reader context.

The defense lawyer pressed the witness that such comments come with prejudice for which reason it cannot be relied on.

“This is all your own slant you have put on the work; I am putting that to you,” the defense lawyer stated, to which the witness responded saying “yes, these are the opinions of the transcriber that is why all this are put in quotes and subsequently the exact words of the speaker follow.”

Mr Eric Osei is a Spanish lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Languages who led a team of six to translate and transcribe the audio and video recordings given by the prosecution as evidence in chief.

The contents of the recordings are of events covering the activities of the accused persons accused of plotting to overthrow the government.

The recordings were taken by Staff Sergeant Sulley Awarf, a military officer who was charged by his superiors to monitor the activities of the group by infiltrating the alleged plotters.

The accused persons include Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Benjamin Agordzo, Dr Frederick Yao Mac-Palm and eight others have been charged for various offences including High treason.

The eight others are Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli, Donya Kafui, Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu, Johannes Zikpi, Corporal Seidu Abubakar, Lance Corporal Ali Solomon, Corporal Sylvester Akanpewon and Warrant Officer (II) Esther Saan Dekuwine.

The accused persons who have all pleaded not guilty were arrested in 2019 for allegedly plotting to destabilize the country and overthrow the government.

Hearing on the case is scheduled to continue on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, when a new prosecution witness is expected to be called to take the stand.