July 20, 2024
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Major Mahama murder trial: Court directs State Prosecutors to address jury Oct 16

State Prosecutors have been directed by the High Court in Accra to give their final oral addresses to the jury beginning October 16 in the trial of 14 persons accused of lynching Major Maxwell Mahama at Denkyira Obuasi in the Central Region.

On June 6, both the prosecution and the defence lawyers signaled the closure of their respective evidences in the matter.

After receiving all the records of Proceedings on June 26, they were directed by the Court to begin orally address to the seven-member jury in the trial from October 9, 2023.

The Criminal Division of the High Court in Accra presided over by Justice Mariama Owusu, Justice of the Supreme Court sitting as an additional High Court Judge, then directed that, the Defence lawyers would be the ones to start.

In Court on Monday, however, when the trial resumes after a two-month legal vacation, the case was adjourned.

This was after one of the defence lawyers Patrick Anim Addo argued that per the practice and what he knew, the Prosecution ought to be the ones to address the Jury first on the case before the defence present theirs.

Chief State Attorney, Mrs Evelyn Keelson, though disagreed with that preposition said, the prosecution had no issues to be the first to address the jury.

Justice Mariama Owusu after listening to the parties adjourned the case to Monday, October 16, 2023 for the oral address of the jury to begin with the prosecution.

EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, reports that all the 14 accused persons were present in Court.

Previously on June 26, 2023, the court also directed the parties in the case to file their written legal closing addresses after the oral submissions after which the court would sum up the trial to the jury on a yet to be decided date after which the jury would retire to deliberate on a verdict.

Background

The young soldier, Major Mahama was the captain of the 31-member military team sent to the town to guard the properties of C&G Mining Company as a result of illegal mining activities in the area.

The then Assemblyman for the area, William Baah, alias Misty is standing trial for abetment of murder while the other 13 are facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder and substantive charge of murder.

They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges and are in lawful custody since the commencement of the trial in 2018.

The rest accused persons are Bernard Asamoah, alias Daddy, Kofi Nyame a.k.a Abortion, Charles Kwaning a.k.a Akwasi Boah, Kwame Tuffour, Joseph Appiah Kubi, Michael Anim and Bismarck Donkor, John Bosie, Akwasi Asante, Charles Kwaning, Emmanuel Badu, Bismarck Abanga and Kwadwo Anima.

State parades 14 witnesses

The Office of the Attorney General on May 16, 2022, closed its case after parading 14 witnesses who gave various accounts of what happened on the day and what they witnessed.

During one of the proceedings, Frances Mullen Ansah, a Chief State Attorney led the case investigator in evidence when the court played the horrifying videos which captured the accused persons lynching the deceased.

Out of the 14 accused persons, eleven of them opened their defence and denied the charges against them.

The three of Kofi Nyame, BismarkAbanga and Kwadwo Anima, waived their rights to mount a defence.

Brief facts

The facts, presented by the prosecution, were that Major Mahama was the commander of a military detachment stationed at Diaso in the Upper Denkyira West District in the Central Region to check illegal mining activities.

At 8 am on May 29, 2017, Major Mahama, wearing civilian clothes but with his sidearm, left his detachment base for a 20-kilometre jogging.

At 9:25 a.m., the military officer got to the outskirts of Denkyira Obuasi, where a number of women were selling foodstuffs by the roadside.

He stopped to interact with the women and even bought some snails, which he left in their custody to be taken up on his return from jogging.

While he was taking out money from his pocket to pay for the snails, the woman from whom he had bought the snails and a few others saw his sidearm tucked to his waist.

Soon after he left, one of the women telephoned the assembly member for Denkyira Obuasi to report what they had seen.

“Without verifying the information, the assembly member mobilised the accused persons and others, some now at large, to attack the military officer,” the prosecution stated.

It added that the mob met Major Mahama near the Denkyira Obuasi cemetery and, without giving him the opportunity to explain and identify himself, “attacked him with implements such as clubs, cement blocks and machetes, killed him and burnt a portion of his body”.

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