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Regional News of Thursday, 31 July 2003

Source: GNA

Ex-policeman life in imprisonment for robbery

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Cape Coast, July 31, GNA- Ex-police constable Armah Schandorf, 35, formerly at Anomabu, was on Thursday sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery, by a High Court in Cape Coast. The court, presided over by Justice Nana Gyamera Tawiah, imposed the sentence, after the jury had returned a unanimous verdict of guilty on both charges.

Two others charged with similar offences, Samuel Ghartey, 25, a driver at the Anomabu Beach Resort, whose accountant was shot dead during the robbery, and Kwadwo Addai, a 19-year-old trader at the Konkomba market in Accra were also sentenced to life imprisonment. The seven-member jury, however, returned a verdict of not guilty in favour of Emmanuel Oduro, 34, a security man at the resort, and Daniel Owusu 23, also a trader at the Konkomba market.

Kwasi Fosu, the fifth accused person, was acquitted and discharged of conspiracy by the jury for lack of evidence, on Tuesday July 29. Schandorf, Ghartey, Oduro, Fosu and Owusu, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, while Addai pleaded guilty with explanation. Schandorf, and Ghartey, had also pleaded not guilty to robbery, while Addai pleaded guilty.

In his judgement, Justice Tawiah implored the jury to avoid "all public sentiments", and consider only the evidence on record in order to reach a fair verdict.

In their defence, all the five who pleaded not guilty, had denied being involved in the robbery, with Schandorf who claimed that he went to Accra to collect his salary on the day of the crime.

The case for the prosecution, was that in December last year, Ghartey and Oduro approached Schandorf who sometimes performed night guard duties at the resort, to rob the resort, and he in turn, went to Accra to recruit some people to assist, but was not successful.

It said the two employees of the resort, again approached the ex-policeman after the Easter holidays this year, and he went to Accra again, and succeeded in getting Addai, who had been introduced to him by Fosu, "as an armed robbery expert".

It said on April 28, Schandorf and Addai, laid ambush near the resort and robbed the accountant of the resort, Mr. Mathew Mensah who was on a vehicle driven by Ghartey while on his way to Cape Coast. Addai threw grounded pepper into Mr. Mensah's eyes, while Schandorf who had worn a mask to conceal his identity, tried to snatch a bag of money he was carrying.

In an ensuing struggle, Mr. Mensah removed the mask from Schandorf's face. Schandorf then shot him twice in the chest with a police sub-machine gun.

With the injured accountant still on the vehicle, Ghartey drove to Waakrom junction near Anomabu, where Schandorf and Addai alighted. Ghartey then drove to the police checkpoint at Moree to report that he and the late Mr. Mensah had been attacked by armed robbers. He was asked to send the injured to the Central Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. The six accused persons were arrested after investigations, the prosecution added.

In another development, the court, sentenced Thomas Boadi, a 51-year-old auto electrician at Abandze near, Anomabu, to five years' imprisonment with hard labour, for causing the death of his wife, after the seven-member found him guilty of manslaughter.

The case for the prosecution was that on May 28, 1999, Boadi who lived separately from his wife, Madam Josephine Ewudzi, went to her for his supper and later asked her to fetch him some water for his bath, but she refused and told him that she did not have enough water at home. The prosecution said Madam Ewudzi, then asked one of their sons to fetch water for his father, but Boadi ordered him not to do so, and this resulted in a misunderstanding as a result of which Boadi kicked her in the abdomen.

She became unconscious and died shortly or arrival at the Saltpond Hospital.

The jury acquitted and discharged Kofi Gyasi, a farmer at Nyafeku-Ekroful near Abura- Dunkwa on a similar charge. This was after the judge had in his summing up, urged it to return a verdict of not guilty, since according to him, the " prosecution had discredited its own evidence" when it said that the bullet that had killed the victim, madam Efua Afremah, a trader, had not been fired from Gyasi's gun.

The prosecution had told that court that on February 6, 1999, Gyasi on his return from a hunting expedition, had carried his single-barrel gun to Madam Afremah's premises to purchase some cigarettes and the gun went off accidentally.

A ballistic examination of a bullet found at the scene of the incident by the police, however indicated that the bullet had not been fired from Gyasi's gun.

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