Ghana: Plumber Freed After Five Years Wrongful Imprisonment

The Accra High Court, criminal division has acquitted and discharged a plumber, who was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment for allegedly robbing boss of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), Commissioner of Police (COP) MaameYaaTiwaa Addo-Danquah at her residence in 2016.

Emmanuel Darko, on October 17, 2017 was found guilty by the Accra Circuit Court One(1) alongside trader Kwame Konadu and Abdulai Rashid for conspiracy to rob and five counts of robbery with all three receiving 24 years in hard labour on each count to be served concurrently.

He has served five out of the 24 years since he was convicted in 2017.

But the Criminal Division of the court presided over by Justice Elfreda Ama Dankyi on November 7, this year, affirmed the arguments of Darko’s counsel, Jeffery Abbey Adamson of the Legal Aid Commission.

Mr Adamson argued that the decision of the lower court against the appellant did not meet the threshold prescribed for criminal trials as the prosecution failed to prove the charges against him beyond reasonable doubt.

“It is my opinion that the evidence led by the prosecution in proof of the charges against the appellant did not meet the requisite standard of proof, which is, proof beyond reasonable doubt.

“The failure of the trial judge to consider the defense of the appellant has occasioned a miscarriage of justice. I therefore quash the conviction and sentence of the appellant on the five charges of conspiracy to rob and robbery,” Justice Dankyi said as she reversed the ruling of the lower court against Darko.

She also determined that, throughout the trial at the Circuit Court four, prosecution witnesses who resided at the residence including COP Addo-Danquah, the first prosecution witness, admitted that they did not see Darko there and never questioned his claim of innocence maintained throughout the trial.

The facts according to the court documents were that the complainant, then Assistant COP, Madam YaaTiwaa Addo Danquah, now EOCO boss, reported a robbery at her residence on November 1, 2016 to the police.

This led to the arrest of suspects, Kwame Konadu, a trader residing at Medie, Abdulai Rashid alias Gameboy, a driver and Emmanuel Darko, a plumber residing at Madina.

Others were Benjamin Aidoo aka Ice Tee and Kwame Tawiah, a trader and goldsmith respectively.

The document revealed that on the said date at about 3:30 am, the complainant and her family were asleep when Konadu, Rashid and Darko scaled the fenced wall and entered the compound of the complainant.

It said they forced open the sliding door of the ground floor and entered the house where they met three young men of the complainant’s family fast asleep in their room and attacked them.

They also subjected them to severe beatings, tied them up and locked them in their bathroom and bedroom.

They proceeded to ransack the room and took with them a Sony PlayStation 4, two iPhone 6, a Toshiba Google Chrome laptop, one Samsung Galaxy S5, a Compaq laptop and a cash sum of GH¢ 120.

“They moved upstairs and attacked Mrs Addo-Danquah and her husband robbing them of their Acer computer, jewellery, necklace, tablet, iPhones, Samsung phone, police Gota phone and a cash sum of GH¢ 7,400. They also made away with her wedding ring valued at €200,” the court file said.

The robbers took the laptops and the phones to Kofi Kwei at Pokuase and sold same to Aidoo, who police later retrieved the items from.

Aidoo mentioned that Konadu and Rashid sold the items to him and that led to the arrest of the two.

He said Rashid led the police to Kaneshie where they sold the complainant’s gold wedding ring to Tawiah, the goldsmith, at the cost of GH¢580 and he was arrested.

The police were unable to retrieve complainant’s ring as Tawiah in his caution statement told them that he had melted the ring to make another for a customer.

Justice Dankyi also found that the trial judge lumped up all the three accused together instead of considering the role each played in the committal of the offences, thereby making wrong deductions from the evidence on record as to their individual guilt in relation to the charges.

Lawyer Jeffery Adamson, had gone to the High Court contesting the Circuit Court ruling on four main grounds which were that, the trial judge erred in law when he concluded that, the appellant played a role in the alleged conspiracy and robbery vis-à-vis the required standard of proof required of prosecution in a criminal matter and also erred in law failing to withdraw the case against the appellant after close of the prosecution’s case.

The other grounds were that the defence of the appellant was not adequately considered and that judgment could not be supported having regard to the evidence and occasioned the appellant’s substantial miscarriage of justice.

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