Prosecution tightens noose on Canadian girls’ kidnappers case
An Accra High Court has quashed an attempt to stop it from accepting a forensic report of evidence gathered in the Canadian girls kidnapping case.
Counsels for the four accused persons, Reverend Yaw Dankwa and Oliver Atsu had objected to the inclusion of the report from the Cyber Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigations Department as evidence.
The case of the defense team was that the report the tenth prosecution witness, Detective Sergeant Slyvester Essel, wanted to testify to, was not signed by him.
The report in contention is a 59-page document detailing audio recording, images and information gathered from the phones belonging to the accused persons.
They pointed that the signatures on front and back page of the report had been signed by a different person.
It was the view of the defense counsels that since the witness was not the one who authored the report, he would be unable to address the technicalities and processes that went into the report.
“We object to the tendering of this document, the witness told this court that he alone is the one who received the mobile phones and the one who prepared the report and has identified that this was his own report.
“The witness has given us a list of qualifications from Genesis to Revelations of his academic qualification that he prepared a detailed and comprehensive report, but the name to the signature is not his,” Rev Dankwa mounted a spirited defense.
But state prosecution who wanted to tender in the report insisted that the report was emanating from proper custody, and therefore, should be accepted by the court.
According to state prosecutor Winnifred Sarpong, there was no basis for the objection of the said report.
She believes the cardinal principle was determining whether or not the evidence was relevant to the case.
“The witness has testified to the fact that some mobile devices and a court order were directed at his unit to conduct forensic examination and at end of the examination, he issued the report.
“This report that we are seeking to tender is very relevant. It will explain the findings of the witness after he subjected the devices to the digital forensic examination.
“About the signature, the witness is working under somebody and there is a hierarchy so he couldn’t have signed in his own capacity,” Madam Sarpong told the court.
The court, presided over by Lydia Osei Marfo, sided with the prosecution.
The trial judge said the prosecution team have indicated how relevant the report was to the case.
The court holds that “there is really no merit in the objection of the report”.
The objection was overruled and report was accepted as exhibit G.
The four accused persons; Sampson Agharlor, Elvis Ojiyorwe, Jeff Omarsar and Yusif Yakubu are standing trial to charges of conspiracy to kidnap and kidnapping.
Charges, they have all pleaded not guilty to. The four are being held for the various role in the kidnapping of Miss Lauren Patricia Catherine Tiley and Miss Bailey Jordan Chilley.
The two University of New Brunswick students were abducted on June 4, 2019 while volunteering for a Non Governmental Organisation.
They were rescued that same month, which led to the arrest of the suspects.
The two are believed to have been abducted at the Kumasi Royal Golf Club at 8:25pm, according to a news release from the Ghana Police Service.
Medical reports confirmed the girls were returned physically unhurt.
The case continues on March 22, 2021.