Pregnancy saves cocaine suspect

…as Kyerewah granted GH¢80,000 bail

A woman, standing trial with three others over the importation of 125 slabs of cocaine with a street value of GH¢10 million has been granted bail by the Fast Track Court, because she is pregnant. Three other suspects are in custody.

Kyerewah Twum Barimah, a clearing agent, was yesterday admitted to bail in the sum of GH¢80,000 with two sureties, with one to be justified, when it became evident that she was about seven months pregnant.

According to the court, presided over by Justice Mustpha Habib Logoh, the granting of bail to Kyerewah Twum Barimah was in accordance with the criminal amendment code, which frowns on the incarceration of pregnant women.

However, Benjamin Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Phormlaplus African Company Limited, Anthony Wilson, Operations Manager of Phormlaplus African Company Limited, and Edward Kojo Arhin, a clearing agent, were remanded into police custody, after the court rejected their application for bail.

All the accused persons, whose pleas were not taken, are standing trial on two counts of conspiracy and the importation of narcotic drugs without license.

Arguing a bail application for Benjamin Armstrong and Anthony Wilson, Mr. Joe Aboagye Debrah told the court that his clients were Ghanaians, who have permanent places of abode.

According to him, if the accused persons were granted bail, they would not interfere with investigations, adding that they would submit themselves willingly for trial.

The counsel further submitted that the accused persons were innocent, as the real culprits, Consolidated Shipping, who is the consignee of the imported containers found to contain the illegal substance, are left walking free.

Mr. Debrah pointed out that there was no factual foundation laid by the prosecution for holding the accused persons in custody, and that their rights had been infringed upon by the state.

On his part, Mr. Dela Blagodzi, counsel for Kyerewah Twum Barimah and Edward Kojo Arhin, concurred with the arguments submitted by Mr. Debrah, and added that the court should take judicial notice of the condition of his client, Kyerewah, who is seven months and heavily pregnant.

According to him, it was gratifying to note that the state prosecutors did not oppose her bail application, adding that it was very hazardous for her to be held in custody.

The counsel, therefore, requested the court to grant his clients bail, pending the trial of the case.
Responding to the bail application, the State Attorney, Mrs. Evelyn Keelson, noted that the accused persons had been arrested because they were the importers of the fuel additives in which the container with the illegal substances were concealed.

According to the state attorney, the accused persons had been remanded by a court of competent jurisdiction, and that there had not been any infringement on their rights.

Mrs. Keelson told that court that investigations were still on-going, and that it entailed a lot, since the importation originated from Los Angeles through Panama, which they would have to investigate.

According to the state prosecutor, the state did not oppose the bail application for Kyerewah Twum Barimah, because there was ample evidence that she was pregnant.

The criminal amendment code, she explained, abhors the incarceration of pregnant women.
She further asked the court to grant the state an adjournment, in order to investigate the issue thoroughly.

The court therefore, adjourned sitting to November 23, 2010.

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