Court admits Ofosu Ampofo leaked audio as evidence
The Accra High Court has admitted into evidence, a leaked audio recording believed to be the voice of the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, inciting unruly behaviour.
“The court believes the audio recording is very relevant to the case and will therefore mark it as exhibit E,” Justice Samuel Asiedu said, dismissing protest of the defence counsel, Tony Lithur.
Mr Lithur had argued that the tape should not be admitted because it was illegally obtained.
He suggested that the National Security may have been behind the recording of the leaked audio tape.
“It is clear from the foundation laid by the witness that he has absolutely no clue of whoever recorded the tape. It could have been the National Security itself and not a regular individual at that meeting.
“The operatives then circulated it and once it became public, it was picked up by the same National Security operatives and made a subject of prosecution,” NDC Chairman’s lawyer, Tony Lithur told the court on Thursday.
This was after the court played the audio where the NDC Chairman was allegedly captured inciting some party faithful at their communication meeting at the party’s national headquarters at Adabraka.
It was the case of the defence counsel that the audio be expunged as evidence. He was of the view that the recording was done without the permission of the accused persons and without a warrant.
This, he said, was a clear violation of Mr Ofosu Ampofo’s privacy.
“We object to tendering the audio. The accused person’s right to privacy has been guaranteed under Article 18(2) of the 1992 constitution.
“In fact, in the brief facts narrated by the prosecution in support of the charges, prosecution says that they were communicators of the party at the National Headquarters in Adabraka.
“Was it in the interest of the persons who attended that gathering that whatever transpired would be made public,” Mr Lithur quizzed.
The Director of Public Prosecution, Yvonne Attakorah Obuobisah, disagreed with the prosecution and urged the court to admit the audio into evidence.
“It is the case of the prosecution that the audio recording of the communicators of the NDC, which the investigator wish to tender must be admitted.
“From section 51 (1) of the Evidence Act, the information contained in the audio recording on February 3, 2019, is critical to the case.
“It proves the existence of the utterances made by the accused person and will assist the court in making a determination on the charges upon which the accused person have been made,” the Director of Public Prosecution stressed.
Having heard the exchanges from both parties, the High Court judge, Justice Asiedu agreed with the prosecution.
“There is no evidence before the court that the recording was done by the National Security so the point he is making that it was not obtained legally was not applied in this case.
“The objection request is hereby turned down. The court has read Article 18 and 21, pointed out by the defence and is of the opinion that the prosecution raised enough basis for the audio to be admitted,” the judge ruled.
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Mr Ofosu-Ampofo and the NDC’s Communications Officer of the party, Anthony Kwaku Boahen, are standing trial for conspiracy to assault a public officer and conspiracy to cause harm.
In a widely circulated audio, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo is allegedly heard inciting party communicators to assault public officials and plotting to harm some other civilians – allegations he has vehemently denied.
In the audio, apart from inciting the party’s communicators, he is also heard urging them to discredit the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa, who replaced a Mahama appointed EC boss, Charlotte Osei.
According to the audio, the plan was to create a general state of insecurity in the country through kidnapping, as well as verbal attacks on the Chairperson of the EC.
Ofosu Ampofo maintains innocence
The former Local Government Minister insisted that his arrest and subsequent trial is borne out of mischief and an attempt by his detractors to frustrate his effort as national chairman of the largest opposition party.
Ofosu Ampofo has refused to give out the names of the said detractors but promised to reveal it in due time.
The NDC Chairman believes he will bounce back stronger as he has learnt useful lessons with the ongoing trial.
Legal counsel for the embattled National Chairman, had argued that the audio recording of their client was a breach of his privacy.
The defence team led by Tony Lithur had filed an application asking an Accra High Court to stop the state from presenting a leaked audio recording as evidence of his client’s alleged crime.