The Kaneshie Magistrate Court yesterday committed Kwasi Kyei Darkwah, popularly known as KKD, to stand trial at the Accra High Court on March 18, 2015, for allegedly raping a 19-year-old student in a hotel.
The court turned down a request for stay of proceeding from lead defence counsel of Darkwah, Mr Tony Forson, Jr, who also asked the court to refuse to commit the accused to stand trial at the High Court.
The court stated that the trial was a committal one that required it not to determine whether there was a prima facie case.
“The court is required to establish if the accused person has a case to answer at this committal stage,” the court said.
After the ruling, the Magistrate Court asked KKD if he had anything to say about the charges preferred against him and reminded him that whatever he would say could be used as evidence against him.
Darkwah remained silent, but his lead counsel, Mr Forson Jnr, stood up and answered in the affirmative.
“We will call Kwasi Okyere Darko (KOD), the accused’s cousin; a medical expert who is a gynaecologist, Dr Srofenyo; a crime scene expert, the arresting officer and Benny Blanco, a friend,” Mr Forson told the court.
The court also advised the accused person that if he intended to call further witnesses, he could do so by contacting the court’s registrar.
The court’s decision to commit Darkwah to stand trial at the High Court came after a state attorney, Ms Malike Woanyo, had told the court that the state had not only served a bill of indictment on the accused but also had sufficient evidence to commit him to stand trial at the High Court.
“After due examination of the summary of evidence, there is a prima facie to support the charges preferred against the accused person. It is based on this that the accused should stand trial,” she told the court.
Stay of proceedings
However, the lead defence counsel prayed the court to stay proceedings and refuse to commit his client to stand trial at the High Court since the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against Darkwah.
He said on Tuesday, February 17, 2015, the defence team filed a document containing the January 12, 2015 letter of the rape victim to the High Court and copied the Attorney General and the police.
“We intend to rely on this document”, he said, adding that the state could not feign to have no knowledge of the victim’s withdrawal letter for the case to be discontinued.
“The prosecution witness has stated in her letter that she is not interested in the prosecution of the case and shall not be available when called upon to testify,” the counsel said.
‘Complainant’ can’t be compelled’
Mr Forson Jr stated that there was no basis for Darkwah to stand trial at the High Court in view of the complainant’s refusal to go to the court, saying that “under the law, the complainant cannot be compelled to appear before the court to give evidence.
“In the absence of the prosecution witness, how does the state intend to corroborate their evidence. Would they do so by magic?” he asked, saying “in rape cases, we have the scandal proof and the burden of proof.
“In scandal proof, the complainant must come to demonstrate how the rape took place and she would be cross-examined to verify the evidence; in the burden proof, the accused person would have to prove and exonerate himself from the charges,” Mr Forson stated.
Citing authorities to support his argument against his client’s trial at the High Court, he said in rape cases, the principal complainant ought to appear before the court to give evidence.
“At this moment, the material complainant says she would not be available and nobody has come out to contradict the withdrawal she wrote,” he argued.
Mr Forson Jnr, who appeared unhappy about the court’s decision to commit Darkwah to stand trial at the High Court, informed the court that “we intend to contest this ruling.”
Darkwah was arrested at the African Regent Hotel on Saturday, December 27, 2014 following the alleged rape.
He was sent to court for the first time on Tuesday, December 30, 2014 and remanded in police custody.
He was charged with rape but he denied the allegation, saying the sexual encounter with the victim had been ‘consensual’.
Source: Graphic Online