Thursday, January 28, 2010 (Front Page)
FOUR robbers who confessed to committing a string of robberies in Accra, leading to the death of a pastor of the Lighthouse Chapel International, Rev Peter Nii Addy, were yesterday sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment each with hard labour.
The four — Yaw Asamoah, Kofi Yeboah, Ebo Kwabena and Osei Prempeh — pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and robbery and were, accordingly, sentenced to serve 20 years each on each count.
The sentences are to run concurrently.
They are standing trial in another court for the murder of Rev Addy.
Prior to their sentencing, the four, who are already serving a 17-year sentence imposed on them by another court, had admitted committing robberies in two different households in November and December 2009, in the course of which they made away with a pump action gun, a box full of cartridges, a car key, cellular phones, a laptop, GH¢70 and other valuable items running into thousands of cedis.
They later used the pump action gun they had forcibly taken from a banker’s house to kill Rev Addy, 26, who had travelled to Accra with his pregnant wife to attend a colleague’s wedding.
Ebo Kwabena was sentenced to an additional 20 years’ imprisonment with hard labour after he had admitted robbing a household at Dokuna, a suburb of Accra, of five cellular phones and GH¢1,700 and shot a young man in the leg.
Kwabena, who spoke Twi, said he had offended God, Ghanaians and the justice system and was, accordingly, pleading with the court not to hand him a harsh sentence.
According to Kwabena, who spoke amid sobs, he was already facing a 17-year sentence and was about to face additional charges at the High Court and for that reason the court should have mercy on him.
The court, presided over by Mrs Patience Mills-Tetteh, sentenced him to 20 years’ imprisonment with hard labour and further ordered that the pump action gun which was forcibly taken away from a banker by the robbers be returned to the banker.
It gave the order after it had satisfied itself with the fact that the banker had registered his gun.
However, the three others claimed they had not been present during the Donkuna robbery and the court adjourned the matter to February 9, 2010 for a full trial.
According to Yeboah, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) concocted stories against him and the others.
He said, for instance, that the CID said one of the robbery victims lived in an uncompleted house, which was not true, because the house was a fully completed one.
According to him, he pleaded guilty because the investigators had advised him to do so and further stated that some of the facts were not true.
Asamoah, for his part, said he was the second person to be arrested by the police but the charge sheet described him as the first accused person.
Some few minutes after the hearing of the case, a photojournalist from the Daily Guide newspaper was brutally assaulted by prison guards who escorted the convicted robbers from the courtroom.
The photojournalist had attempted to take pictures of the convicted robbers but the prison guards did not take kindly to that and seized his camera and cellular phones and handed him slaps.
The photojournalist, who resisted the prison officers’ attempt to seize his camera, was eventually locked up in cells on the orders of a High Court judge, Mr James B. Benson.
The prison officers were said to have informed the judge, who had heard the commotion from his courtroom, that the photojournalist was being unruly.
He spent more than three hours among the very convicted criminals whose photographs he had attempted to take.
Narrating his ordeal to his colleagues after his release, the photojournalist said all his money had been taken away from him by the remanded prisoners, while one of the convicted robbers had attacked him for attempting to take pictures of him.