The Criminal Division of the Accra High Court has sentenced four accused persons held for kidnapping two Canadian ladies to a combined 40 years in prison in hard labour.
Sampson Agarlor, the ring leader, Elvis Ojiyorwe, Jeff Omarsar, all Nigerian nationals and Yusif Yakubu, a Ghanaian were convicted after the court found them guilty of two charges of conspiracy and two charges of kidnapping.
They were each sentenced to serve nine years for the charge of conspiracy and 10 years for kidnapping.
The sentencing the court said are to run concurrently, meaning they will each serve the highest which is 10 years but a combined 40 years for all.
The Court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo ordered that the mobile phones of the convicts used in perpetrating the offense should be burnt while the pistols retrieved handed over to the authorities.
According to EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, the families of the victims monitored the judgement via video link.
The Court said the prosecution after calling 11 witnesses was able to discharge the burden of proof which the convicts could not counter.
The Court also said the convicts came to the country purposely to kidnap expatriates to make money, a development the court observed destroyed Ghana’s International relations with investors.
Justice Osei Marfo urged the state to undertake law reforms to ensure that harsher punishments are imposed to deal with issues of kidnapping.
According to her, the current maximum punishment of 10 years for kidnapping is not deterrent enough and Ghana should learn from other countries who have strengthened their laws.
The Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa welcomed the call and said a committee has been constituted to review some of the laws.
She said they will request for the judgement of the court and refer the call to the committee.
Lawyer Yaw Dankwah, who represented three of the four convicts apologised to the victims and their families.
He said, their job as lawyers is just to strengthen the judicial system.
The second convict, Elvis Ojiyorwe, knelt down before the court after he was sentenced to apologise to the victims and their families.
But his plea for a reduced sentence was turned down by the court.
Justice Osei Marfo while apologizing to the victims and their family said, “No one deserved what they (victims) have been through.”
She said in “matters like this justice must be done. My sincere apology to the victims and their family.”
The four accused persons were standing trial for kidnapping two Canadian ladies since 2020.
The two ladies – Miss Lauren Patricia Catherine Tiley and Miss Bailey Jordan Chilley, who were in Kumasi to participate in a youth programme on June 4, 2019, were kidnapped.
The four persons who have been charged with unlawful imprisonment of two Canadian nationals have pleaded not guilty to four charges related to kidnapping.
The accused – Sampson Agharlor, aka Romeo, the ring leader together with Elvis Ojiyorwe, Jeff Omarsar and Yusif Yakubu have all denied the charges of conspiracy to kidnap, two kidnappings, and unlawful imprisonment.