7.2.07

The Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously acquitted and discharged two out of six persons who were convicted to 20 years' imprisonment each for smuggling 588.33 kilograms of cocaine into the country.They are John David Logan, 43 and Frank Lavelrick, 43, both British nationals.The two were convicted on October 27, 2004 together with Kevin Gorman, 59, an American, Mohammed Ibrahim Kamil, a Ghanaian, Alan Hodson 45, a British national and 45-year-old Sven Herb, a German.They faced charges for conspiracy and possessing 588.33 kilograms of cocaine without lawful authority.Gorman, Lavelrick and Hodson were additionally charged with importing narcotic drugs without licence from the Ministry of Health. Gorman was further charged with using his property for narcotic offence.They pleaded not guilty before Mr Justice F. Kusi Appiah, a Court of Appeal Judge sitting as additional High Court Judge, who found them guilty and convicted them accordingly.On November 4 2005, the Court of Appeal in a 2-1 decisions upheld the decision of the Fast Track Court.In June 2006, Mr Addo Atuah, appellants' Counsel, filed another appeal at the Supreme Court which on Wednesday quashed the decision of the Court of Appeal and the High Court ruling that a prima facie case had been made against Logan and Levelrick.According to the Supreme Court, Logan and Lavelrick should not have been called to open their defence since they had produced credible evidence to make their case during the trial.The panel were Ms Justice Sophia Akuffo, Mr. Justice S. A. Brobbey, Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mr Justice R. T. Aninakwa and Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira.Speaking to journalists later, Mr Atuah described the decision as "major victory in the country's rule of law and good governance". He was happy that a right environment had been created to embolden judges to dispense justice fearlessly.Gorman is a Director/Shareholder and Operations Manager of a shipping company - Tuna To-Go Limited based in Tema.On January 7, 2004, the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) and the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) of the Police Service raided the residence of Gorman and discovered bales and parcels of whitish substances suspected to be cocaine.The parcels were concealed in a specially constructed hole or compartment in a wall behind a large dressing mirror.The prosecution said Gorman with Logan, Lavelrick and Hodgson, who were living in the house at the time, were confronted with the substance.Gorman said the bales and parcels were brought there for safe keeping by one Yakuba for a fee of 50,000 dollars.The rest of the suspects, including Herb, who arrived later, denied knowledge of the substance.
Source:GNA

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