A 59-year-old Lebanese Simon Anthony Saoud and his son Kelvin Saoud, 29, arraigned for three charges including conspiracy to cause harm to a businessman, Charles Otoo, have been acquitted and discharged.
They were freed after the Circuit Court in Accra presided over by Her Honour Mrs Ellen Offei Ayeh held that, the prosecution’s evidence from its two witnesses are “unreliable.”
Prosecution had called two witnesses – the victim and the investigator in the case hoping that was enough to establish a prima facie case against the accused persons.
But, the court said their evidence fall short of requirement for which the accused persons should be called upon to open their defence to answer to the charges.
The two accused persons said to the owners of Alternative Apartment at Spintex were charged for their respective roles which led to the businessman being shot in the leg.
The victim had gone to visit his ex-girlfriend Tatiana Elovskaia upon invitation on December 26, 2021, when he was harmed.
In an amended charged sheet put before the Circuit Court in Accra presided over by Her Honour Mrs Ellen Offei Ayeh, the accused were slapped with three charges.
Kelvin Saoud (first) and his father Simon Anthony Saoud (second) accused have been charged together with conspiracy to cause harm.
While Simon Anthony Saoud was separately charged with causing harm and discharging of firearm without lawful authority.
They both pleaded not guilty to their respective charges and were on bail.
Ruling on a submission of no case on September 8, 2023, after the Prosecution led by Inspector Daniel Ofori-Appiah had closed its case, the court said the elements to establish a prima facie case have not been proven.
The court also wondered why key witnesses like Tatiana, (who deposed to a witness statement) for the prosecution failed to testify and the security man, Kennedy Atongo who was said to have played a key role was also not called.
The trial judge also wondered why the Prosecution led by Inspector Ofori-Appiah did not call the medical doctor in the Centre of the case to also testify considering the severity of the case.
The court ruled that, though a harm has been caused and was caused by the accused on the victim, the prosecution could not prove the element of intention for conspiracy and causing harm.
The court explained that there were inconsistencies and contradictions in the narratives of the two Prosecution witnesses and those inconsistencies and contradictions fail to prove the intention.
For the charge of discharging of firearms without lawful authority, a charged faced by Simon Anthony Saoud, the court said the Prosecution failed to demonstrate that the car park (premises) of the Alternative Apartment where the gunshot was said to have happened was a public place.
The court ruled that at the time of the alleged causing harm on December 26, 2021, the gun at the Centre of the case had a valid license and the prosecution failed to adduce reasons to support the charge of discharge of firearms without lawful authority.
They were both acquitted and discharged on their respective counts of conspiracy, causing harm and discharging of firearms without lawful authority by the court.
Charles Otoo, the victim who was earlier charged but was later discharged upon his lawyers had written to the Attorney-General’s Department and became the complainant in the matter.
The brief facts of the case as presented to the court by Inspector Daniel Ofori-Appiah, the prosecutor, were that, on December 26, 2021, at about 2030 hours, the Okpoi-Gonno District Command received information from the Police Control Room to the effect that a group of people had engaged in a fight at Alternative Apartment located on the Spintex road behind the Robinhood Hotel.
He said, upon receipt of the information, the Baatsonaa Divisional Command led by Chief Superintendent Julius Kpeberson proceeded to the scene to ascertain the situation.
The prosecutor said the Police investigation revealed that complainant Charles Otoo visited his Russian ex-girlfriend at the Alternative Apartment.
Otoo after spending some time with the girlfriend in town decided to return to the girlfriend’s apartment at the 4th floor of the said apartment.
But, the two had difficulties in opening the door to her apartment which led to an argument between the two.
Inspector Ofori-Appiah said, one Serge Osta, who also lives in the apartment approached them to offer his assistance but in the process, a misunderstanding ensued between Serge Osta and the complainant which resulted into a fight.
He told the court that, Kelvin Saoud (A1) and his father Simon Anthony Saoud (A2) who are the owners of the apartment and also resides there, heard the noise and rushed to the scene to find out what was happening.
Armed with pistol
Inspector Ofori-Appiah said, A2 while going armed himself with a Beretta pistol with serial number H77123Z.
He said, A1 and A2 trying to separate Serge Osta and the Complainant heightened the quarrel.
The prosecutor said A2 managed to call Kennedy Atongo who is the security man for the apartment to the scene.
However, A2 ordered Kennedy Atongo to move the complainant who was suspected to be heavily drunk to the vehicle.
“They all moved to the ground floor and the complainant was ordered to move out of the premises.”
The prosecutor told the court that, in the process, another confusion came between the complainant and A1.
He said, the Complainant during the melee that ensued remarked that he had a gun in his vehicle and was going to pick it.
“A2 who is the father of A1 upon hearing that gave a warning shot to the air to stop the complainant.”
He said, the action of A2 infuriated the complainant and he approached A2 which resulted in a struggle.
Inspector Ofori-Appiah said, during the struggle, the gun went off hitting the complainant on the right foot.
He told the court that, Kennedy Atongo and the complainant’s ex-girlfriend Tatiana Elovskaia took the complainant into his own vehicle and sent him to Inkoom Hospital for medical attention.
The Baatsonaa Divisional Commander led by Chief Supt. Julius Kpeberson visited the complainant at the said facility to ascertain his condition.
“Per the allegations made by A1 and A2 that the complainant has a gun in his vehicle prompted the Divisional Commander to search the complainant vehicle and when the search was conducted a pump-action gun GX812 with serial number 18A8407 with 8 rounds of ammunition were retrieved from the complainant’s vehicle.
“Both the Beretta pistol with 11 rounds of ammunition and Pump-action gun has been kept for evidential purposes.
“Complainant was later transferred to 37 Military Hospital where a surgery was performed on his right foot and has since been discharged.
A1 and A2 were eventually arrested and detained in police custody to assist in investigations.
Investigation cautioned statements were obtained from them after investigations of accused persons were charged and arraigned.
Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM/Murtala Inusah