29. September 2022

Court issues bench warrant against Lebanese man over gunshot case

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The Circuit Court in Accra presided over by Her Honour Mrs Ellen Offei Aryeh has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of a Lebanese man, Simon Anthony Saoud who has been charged together with his son for causing harm to a businessman.

The 59-year-old Lebanese and his son Kelvin Saoud, 29, have been charged for conspiring to cause harm to a businessman, Charles Otoo.

But, Anthony Saoud, who is the 2nd accused person has for the second time in a row failed to show up in court for the trial to commence.

At the last court sitting on August 23, the court threatened to revoke their bail conditions after the 2nd Accused person was said to have travelled out of the jurisdiction for medical evaluation in Lebanon without prior permission from the court.

His lawyers per a medical excuse duty to the court indicated that their client would be back in the jurisdiction after two weeks from August 23.

However, in Court on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, he was again said to have not been back to the country.

The prosecution led by Inspector Daniel Ofori-Appiah prayed the court to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the 2nd Accused on grounds that, the accused did not obtain the consent of the court before leaving the jurisdiction.

He also argued that, since February this year when the case started, it has been adjourned on many occasions in their instance.

Even though his lawyers opposed the request for the bench warrant, the court granted the request and issued a bench warrant against the 2nd Accused person.

The two who are said to be the owners of Alternative Apartment at Spintex have been charged for their respective roles which led to the businessman being shot in the leg after he had honoured an invitation to visit his ex-girlfriend Tatiana Elovskaia on December 26, 2021.

The case has been adjourned to October 19, 2019.

Amended charges

In a second amended charge sheet put before the Court in Accra, the accused were slapped with three charges.

Kelvin Saoud and his father Simon Anthony Saoud have been charged together for conspiracy to cause harm, while Simon Anthony Saoud was separately charged for causing harm and discharging a firearm without lawful authority.

They have both pleaded not guilty to their respective charges and are to remain on their previous bail.

Charles Otoo, the victim who was earlier charged but was later discharged upon his lawyers had written to the Attorney-General’s Department, is now the complainant in the matter.

Brief facts

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 in 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.”

More confusion

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 up.

“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.

Hospital

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 have been kept for evidential purposes.

“Complainant was later transferred to 37 Military Hospital where 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 accused persons were charged and arraigned.

 

Credit: Kasapafmonline