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General News of Monday, 21 January 2019

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

Afoko trial: Judge fumes again


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The trial judge in the case of Gregory Afoko, who has been accused of murdering the Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has rejected a week’s adjournment requested by the defence.

The court last year missed out on its June 2018 deadline to end the case, which has been pending before the court since 2016, due to unforeseen circumstances.

Justice Lawrence L. Mensah, a Court of Appeal judge sitting as an additional High Court judge, has on many occasions complained about delays in the trial mainly occasioned by the absence of witnesses.

The court, therefore, resolved to end the case by the end of this month.

The presiding judge subsequently rejected the adjournment to Friday, January 25, 2019 as requested by the defence lawyer, Osafo Buabeng last Friday.

The lawyer was expected to call the second and last witness after the first one, John Ishmael Afoko, the accused person’s brother, was discharged.

Appearing before the court, Benedicta Antwi, who held brief for Mr. Buabeng, told the court that her superior told her that their witness was not available and prayed to the court to adjourn the matter to January 25, 2019 so they could present him.

However, this did not go down well with the trial judge, who rejected the date since it appears to be at the pleasure of the witness.

He subsequently ordered the defence lawyer to present their next witness today.

The judge added that “given that the court as far back as December 14, 2018 agreed on January 21, 2019 the court rejects the 25th January, 2019 requested by the defense especially when the date is at the pleasure of the witness. If the defence fails to avail its witness by the date agreed the court will deem it that the defence has closed its case, and both parties will be ordered to file their addresses,” Justice Mensah added.

Gregory Afoko has been accused of murdering the late Adams Mahama by pouring acid on him on in May 2015.

The state has called 14 prosecution witnesses, who have all give testimonies over the past three years.

Afoko, who opened his defence December last year, vehemently denied killing the lawmaker.

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