Court grant journalist bail

Kade (E/R)� Ebenezer Ofori Agyei, popularly known as Odi Asempa, who is facing trial at the Kade District Magistrate Court on a charge of abusing the Akwatia District Police Commander with the intent to breach the peace has been granted bail in the sum of GH10,000.00 with one surety.

This was when he made his second appearance at the court on Tuesday.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge after the prosecution had substituted the charge sheet with one that dropped a second charge of falsely representing himself as a driver.

The charge sheet gave his profession as a barber. Prosecuting, Police Chief Inspector E.A. Gand said on November 14, this year, a news item presented on Accra based FM station said some purported drivers at Akwatia were claiming in an audio played on one of the station’s news items which suggests that the Akwatia District Police Commander, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Yaw Dankwah Agyekum was Kaankabi (dictator) and many others.

The drivers also alleged that the commander had been demanding bags of cement from motor traffic offenders.

The prosecution said the accused was suspected to behind that news item and was therefore invited to assist the police in their investigations of the allegations.

At the station, he was sent to the District Commander’s office for interrogation in the company of two police officers and when he was asked where he had his journalism training, he flared up and said the question was baseless and nonsensical.

He said tempers flared up high so the commander instructed that the accused be detained and cautioned.

According to the prosecution when the accused was leaving the office, he was alleged to have uttered some offensive words such as you can’t intimidate me with your useless commandership among others.

The prosecution said in his cautioned statement, the accused denied recording the said audio played on air, however a search on his phone revealed that the original recording was made on his Techno phone on November 12 at 10.15.

Further search on the whatsapp notes on the same phone revealed that the accused sent the audio recording to a whatsapp group on his phone, called Breaking News Centre on the same day at 10:45am.

He said investigations further revealed that members of that group which included a staff of the Accra based station and other media practitioners also proved that the accused was not a taxi driver as he had represented himself in the audio.

On November 16, the accused was put before the Kade Magistrate Court and was remanded into police custody to assist in police investigations.

The prosecution said whilst in custody the recording was confirmed by the station the accused sent the story to them.

After the prosecution had presented the facts of the case, an Agona Swedru based lawyer, Mr S.H. Owusu, pleaded with the court to grant him bail.

The magistrate, Madam Felicia Anane-Antwi told counsel that she would have granted the accused bail even without his intervention, explaining that the accused was remanded into police custody to assist them in their investigation and now that the police had completed their investigation, he could be bailed.

She then granted him bail in the sum of GH10,000.00 with one surety to re-appear on December 17.

Source: Ghana News Agency