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Canadian Girls kidnap: Accused persons were beaten and tortured – Lawyer descends on witness

It was a spectacle of accusations and counter-accusations as the Accra High Court tried to decipher what had happened on the day four accused persons were arrested for kidnapping two Canadian girls.

Counsel for three accused persons Yaw Dankwa claimed the police had subjected his clients (Elvis Ojiyorwe, Jeff Omarsar and Yusif Yakubu) to severe beatings and torture on June 12, 2019.

He said the police in their bid to obtain caution statements from the accused persons committed this atrocity.

He believes the accused persons were intimidated by officers to confess to a crime they didn’t do.

But an independent witness, Akwesi Kesse, who was at the scene said the accused persons were not under any duress to give a statement.

He said the environment within which the accused persons submitted their statements was not intimidating, adding that officers were even dressed casually.

However, Mr Dankwa said the fact that the officers were dressed casually does not rule out intimidation.

He then asked the witness to take a look at a picture and identify the accused persons who were standing with police officers.

But the witness could not.

Counsel for the accused persons, however, pointed that the reason the witness could not make out the accused persons was that “they had been beaten so badly, with lips so swollen like a mountain”.

The lawyer for the first accused person also claimed that the police threatened to beat up his client, Sampson Agharlor.

“We will beat you [first accused Sampson Agharlor] together with your lawyer, ” Victor Atsu Abada told the Accra High Court when he took his turn at cross-examination.

The case continues on October 22, 2021.

Background

Four accused persons – Sampson Agharlor, Elvis Ojiyorwe, Jeff Omarsar and Yusif Yakubu – stand trial for conspiracy charges to kidnap and kidnap.

They have all pleaded not guilty.

The four are being held for their various roles in kidnapping Miss Lauren Patricia Catherine Tiley and Miss Bailey Jordan Chilley.

The Canadian girls who were kidnapped in Kumasi

The two University of New Brunswick students were abducted on June 4, 2019, while volunteering for a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Kumasi.

They were rescued that same month, which led to the arrest of the suspects.

According to a news release from the Ghana Police Service, the two are believed to have been abducted at the Kumasi Royal Golf Club at about 8:25 pm.

Medical reports confirmed the girls were returned physically unhurt.

Facts of the case

The prosecution said the first accused person Aghalor who had been in Ghana for some time became a friend to Yakubu in March 2019.

In the course of their friendship, the first accused brought up the idea of kidnapping as a lucrative venture, an idea later accepted by Yakubu.

Yakubu is said to have agreed to assist Aghalor in the kidnapping and even helped procure a pistol for the task ahead.

To help with the plan, Agharlor went to Nigeria in May 2019 and recruited the two other accused persons — Elvis Ojiyorwe and Jeff Omarsar.

The three Nigerians, upon their arrival in Ghana, resided at Ashaiman for some time before they went to Kumasi to meet Yakubu.

When they got to Kumasi the first accused gave some money to Yakubu to hire a car, an apartment, buy pistols and other items to enable them to put their plan in motion.

The prosecution said on June 4, 2019, the accused persons who were in a car, accosted the two Canadian girls, who had boarded an Uber taxi at their hostel at Nhyiaeso, a suburb of Kumasi.

The four accused persons are said to have assaulted and forced the girls into their vehicle amid shooting.

They then sped off with their victims to their hideout, which was an uncompleted building at Kenyasi Krobo, another suburb of Kumasi.

After successfully executing their plan, the first accused who is the mastermind of the plot contacted the families of the kidnapped girls and demanded $800,000.

Luck, however, run out when a National Security team, led by Colonel Micheal Opoku, acted on intelligence and arrested Yakubu on June 11, 2019.

The team proceeded to arrest Aghalor, Ojiyorwe and Omarsar at their hideout at Kenyasi Krobo and rescued the two girls.

“During the rescue mission, Ojiyorwe and Omarsar threatened to kill the victims if the security agents dared them. They exchanged fire with the security agents until they were overpowered and arrested,” the prosecution added.

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