Rival dancehall artistes, Charles Nii Armah, popularly known as Shatta Wale, and Livingstone Etse Satekla, aka Stonebwoy, have pleaded not guilty to charges levelled against them in court over the disturbances that occurred at the 2019 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) held at the Accra International Conference Centre on Saturday, May 18, 2019.
The two have been charged with offensive conduct conducive to the breaches of peace, while Stonebwoy faces an additional charge of display of weapon in a public place without permission, contrary to sections 7 (1) and 26 (1) (a) l of the Arms and Ammunition Act, 1972 (NRCD 9).
When they appeared before the Adjabeng District Court yesterday, they denied the charges, and the court, presided over by Mr Isaac Addo, granted them bail with conditions.
Each of them was granted a GH¢50,000 bail, with a surety each, and also bonded to be of good behaviour.
Counsel for the two accused persons had prayed the court to grant their clients self-recognisance bail, but the court denied the request and rather admitted them to bail totalling GH¢100,000.
The case was adjourned to June 20, 2019.
Scene in court
Some fans of the artistes thronged the court premises to give moral support to their idols.
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However, only a few of the fans had the opportunity to enter the courtroom, as the police kept them at bay.
Many of the fans appeared tensed, unsure of what would come out of the case.
In the courtroom, the two accused persons sat apart in a pensive mood before they were called to mount the dock.
The Accra Regional Police Command, on Sunday, May 19, 2019, arrested Shatta Wale and Stonebwoy in connection with the disturbances that rocked the 2019 VGMA in the early hours of that day.
They were detained after statements were taken from them.
The following day, they were granted bail by the police.
There was an altercation between some members of the Shatta Movement (SM), the fan group aligned to Shatta Wale, and Stonebwoy’s fans, who are known as the BHIM Natives.
The rowdy scenes happened after Stonebwoy had been called on stage to receive the award for Reggae/Dancehall Artiste of the Year.
Although it was not clear what triggered the fracas, patrons at the event and some people who watched the show live on television alleged that they saw Shatta Wale walk towards the stage with some of his fans, while Stonebwoy was also seen pulling a gun before walking off stage.