Kwabenya shooting: Two get 5 years for jailbreak

Author: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
The two convicts, Atta Kwadwo and Prince Osei aka Bebe
The two convicts, Atta Kwadwo and Prince Osei aka Bebe

Two of the Kwabenya Police Station cell breakers were Tuesday sentenced to a total of five years’ imprisonment by the Accra Circuit Court.

Prince Osei and Atta Kwadwo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to escape from lawful custody and escaping from lawful custody and were sentenced on their own plea by the court, presided over by Mr Aboagye Tandoh.

The two were sentenced to two-and-a-half years each on each count. The sentences will run concurrently.

According to the judge, the judgement was to send a strong signal to people in lawful custody that cell- break was against the law and would not be tolerated.

Cell-break

On January 21, 2018, seven inmates of the Kwabenya Police Station cell escaped from custody through a cell break carried out by six armed men.

The cell break led to the death of a police officer at the station, Inspector Emmanuel Ashilevi.

One of the alleged escapees, Kofi Darko, who is also standing trial, has, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy to escape from lawful custody and escaping from lawful custody.

Chibuzor Akwubu, Emmanuel Kotey, Rockson Edem Dzigbede and Dickson Ofori, the other alleged cell breakers, are stil on the run.

Bail application

Meanwhile, lawyers for nine other people alleged to have aided the escapees yesterday pleaded with the court to grant their clients bail.

The nine have all pleaded not guilty to the charge of abetment to escape from lawful custody.

They are Nancy Dentaa, a bread seller; George Yeboah, Prince Kofi Acheampong, Edward Lartey, Kofi Seshie, George Sarbah, Elvis Owusu, George Asante and Theophilus Bandah.

Making a case for bail, Mr Bernard Owureidu, the lawyer for Nancy, submitted that his client would always appear before the court to defend herself when granted bail.

The lawyers for the other accused persons argued that their clients had fixed places of abode, were gainfully employed and also had individuals to stand as sureties for them.

In his response, the prosecutor, Superintendent of Police Mr Kweku Bempah, urged the court not to grant the accused bail in the interest of their own security.

According to him, the jailbreak had received a lot of media coverage and, therefore, the accused persons should be remanded for their own safety.

The presiding judge, after hearing the various arguments for and against bail, adjourned the case to February 26, 2018 to give his ruling.

Details of jailbreak

Supt Bempah informed the court that before the operation, two members of the gang had surveyed the police station by intentionally visiting the place to lodge a complaint.

They complained that someone had borrowed their money and refused to pay, for which a policeman told them to institute a civil action at the court.

“At that moment, the two signaled the rest who had laid ambush to launch an attack on the charge office. They shot Inspector Ashilevi, who was on duty.

“They took the keys to the cells and released seven of the inmates, namely, Prince Osei, Atta Kwadwo, Chibuzor Akwubu, Emmanuel Kotey, Rockson Edem Dzigbede and Dickson Ofori,’’ he said.