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General News of Monday, 22 March 2010

Source: GNA

Counsel abandons two soldiers accused of murdering Mobilla

Accra, March 22, GNA - Mr Thaddeus Sory, on Monday withdrew his service as counsel for the two soldiers being tried for the alleged murder of Alhaji Issah Mobilla, ex-Northern Regional Chairman of Convention People's Party (CPP).

His withdrawal followed an Accra Fast Track High Court ruling that granted prosecution leave to re-call the second prosecuting witness, Police Sergeant Mathias Avenyori, who had testified before the court.

Mr. Sory was quoted by the trial judge as saying that "for personal reasons" he could not continue as counsel for the soldiers, who are facing charges of conspiracy to murder and murder.

They are Private Eric Modzaka and Corporal Yaw Appiah.

The trial judge, Mr. Justice Senyo Dzamesi said: "Defence counsel has decided to withdraw his service for personal reasons. We can't ask him why. "We will therefore adjourn the matter to enable the accused persons engage the services of counsel of their choice".

The accused persons have pleaded not guilty and were remanded. Their accomplice, Private Seth Goka on the run is being tried in absentia.

The State, last Friday indicated to the court that it had stumbled on some revelations in the case and therefore sought an adjournment to bring three witnesses to the next sitting.

When the witness, Police Sergeant George Mensah Kpligi in his evidence in chief disclosed that because of the case two of his colleagues had been dismissed and his rank reduced.

According to Sgt. Kpligi, his Commanding Officer Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Oko Brakatu, tore and threw away two of his statements because his statements contained incriminatory and damaging contents against the military.

Penelope Mamattah, Chief State Attorney, prayed the court to grant prosecution leave to enable it recall the second prosecution witness. According to her, the fifth prosecuting witness, Police Sgt. Kpligi's evidence had brought up some revelations which they needed to recall the second witness, Police Sgt. Avenyori.

Mamattah contended that it had all along built its case around information provided by witnesses.

She said to ensure justice and for the truth to come out at the end of the trial; the second prosecution witness should be recalled. Mr Sory opposed to the Prosecution's assertion, saying before a witness mounted the box to testify, he or she was interviewed by the prosecution. According to Mr Sory, under the law, the court could grant prosecution leave to recall witnesses if they had good reasons noting that they had not demonstrated that.

He was of the view that recalling the witness meant that prosecution was going to "reconstruct" its case.

The court ruled that in view of the evidence of the fifth prosecution witness (Sgt Kpligi) indicating that he concealed some information considered to be dangerous and damaging to the military, it granted the leave.

It asked that the evidence of Sgt Avenyori should be limited to circumstances surrounding the concealment of information about the military. Earlier, Mr Sory filed a Notice of Alibi on behalf of Corporal Appiah. Prosecution contended that it was not properly laid before the court. Mounting the witness box earlier, Sgt Kpligi, attached to the Tamale Regional Criminal Investigation Department (CID), said that the Police on December 9, 2004, received information that Alhaji Mobilla had been supplied with guns and was creating problems.

He said together with two of his colleagues they went to the deceased's house as well his work place but they did not meet him.

Later on, the deceased came to the Police station and he (witness) took the deceased's Investigation Caution Statement.

After obtaining the statement, witness said his station officer asked him to detain the deceased pending further instructions. Witness said he handed over the deceased to Police Sgt. Akpene, who took details of the deceased who was then a suspect and recorded same in the Police Cells Book.

After tendering the Cells Book, witness mentioned the time of arrival of suspect at the Police Station as 1:48 pm, age of deceased as 50, and the charge preferred against him as: conspiracy. Police Sgt Kpligi said the Cells Book also disclosed that the deceased had no body marks on him.

He said at 1500 hours on the same day, his superiors asked him to transfer the deceased to Kamina Barracks, Tamale and they arrived there at 1800 hours.

Witness said when together with two of his colleagues reached the barracks they told the military of their mission and were escorted to a mini guard room. "I saw three soldiers including the accused persons at the entrance of the guard room. Modzaka asked the deceased to undress, while Appiah asked him to squat near a table and he (Appiah) hit the deceased's chest with a stick," he said.

Witness said "the deceased was subjected to an acrobatic posture when ordered to stand on his two hands, his legs in the air with his back facing the wall."

According to witness, he told the accused persons that the deceased had not committed any crime therefore they should leave him alone. Witness said he wrote three statements in respect of the case but his Commanding Officer ACP Oko Brakatu tore and threw away two of the statements because they were incriminatory.

Witness said the following day; he was informed about the demise of the deceased.

"On December 11, 2004, I went to the morgue with a photographer to take shots of the corpse".

On December 17, 2004, witness said he witnessed a post mortem conducted by Dr Adomako Boateng of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi. Later Dr Boateng submitted a comprehensive report on the deceased. On December 19, 2004, witness said the accused persons were brought to the Tamale Regional Police Command for interrogation and various statements were taken from them.

Tendering and reading out statements of the accused persons, Police Sgt Kpligi said Appiah admitted receiving the deceased on December 9, 2004 and that while in the cells he heard the deceased screaming for water which was offered to him.

According to the witness, Appiah said the deceased behaved strangely and called for a vehicle to convey the deceased to the hospital but died on the way. Witness said Modzaka indicated he never said a word to the deceased. Answering questions under cross examination, witness denied he together with his colleagues assaulted the deceased and reported the assault to his superiors but they failed to act.

Prosecution's case is that the deceased until his death was a transport owner and Chairman of Northern Regional Branch of Ghana Private Road Transport Union.

It said on December 9, 2004, the deceased was arrested by the Police for allegedly supplying the youth in Tamale with guns to foment trouble. While in custody, the Police allegedly received information that his sympathizers were mobilising to free him.

The deceased was therefore transferred from Police cells to the Kamina Military Barracks and handed over to the three accused persons who searched, undressed and put him in the guard room.

At about 2130 hours the same day, the Police received information that Alhaji Mobilla aka Issah Mohammed had collapsed and died in cells. Dr. Adomako Boateng of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi conducted a post mortem after the deceased had been identified by a relative.

A pathologist's report revealed among other things that the deceased was sent to the hospital dead and that he died from multiple abrasions.