Ghana: Alleged Coup Plotters Ordered to Open Defence

Assistant Commissioner of Police(ACP) Benjamin Agordzo, Colonel Kojo Gameli and eight others accused of plotting to overthrow the government have been ordered by the High Court in Accra, to open their defence.

The three-member panel of judges presided over by Justice Efia Serwaa Asare Botwe, made the order on Monday, when it delivered ruling on a submission of ‘no case’ by the accused, filed by their lawyers.

Justice Asare Botwe and other judges, Justice Stephen Oppong and Justice Hafisata Amaleboba, held that a prima facie case had been established against the 10 accused by the prosecution.

A submission of; no case; is a right of accused under Section 173 of the Criminal and Other Offences Act (Procedure) Act, 1960 (Act 30). This right allows accused to convince a court that the prosecution had failed to make a prima facie case to warrant the opening of defence.

In case a court finds merit in ‘no case’ submission, accused are discharged; if not, they are directed to open their defence.

ACP Dr Benjamin Agordzo and Col. Kojo Gamelie have been charged with abetment.

The eight others, Dr Frederick Yao Mac Palm, Donya Kafui, Bright Allan Debrah aka Bright Allan Yeboah, YohannesZikpi, WO II Esther Saan, Corporal Seidu Abubakar, LAC Ali Solomon and Col Sylvester Akanpewon are facing charges of conspiracy to commit high treason and high treason.

All the 10 accused have pleaded not guilty and have been granted bail.

The court held that “They are each accordingly called upon to open their defence”.

The court explained that, a ruling on submission of no case is to determine whether there was a genuine case to answer, but not to examine whether prosecution has proven a case beyond reasonable doubt at that stage of the trial.

“At this stage, the court is only to determine if a prima facie case has been established and not to determine whether prosecution has been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt,” the court said.

The court also ordered the accused to file a list of all witnesses they intended to call and if they required the assistance of the court to subpoena witnesses.

The accused are also to file their personal witness statement and exhibits by September 19, 2022.

The accused are in court for allegedly engaging in activities of Take Action Ghana (TAG), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), accused by the prosecution of planning to destabilise the country to overthrow the government.

The prosecution has called 13 witnesses so far in an attempt to prove its case, and lawyers for the accused have also cross-examined the witnesses.

Prosecution said that accused used TAG as an avenue to mobilise in order to destabilise the country and overthrow the government.

It said ACP Agordzo joined a WhatsApp platform of TAG, created by Dr Mac-Palm, where the group discussed a planned demonstration, which was likened to the Arab Spring.

Prosecution said ACP Agordzo donated GH¢2,000 to TAG to aid its cause and also drafted a speech for Dr Mac-Palm to be read at the planned demonstration by TAG.

The case has been adjourned to October 10, 2022, for Case Management Conference.

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