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General News of Wednesday, 30 July 2003

Source: GNA

Court frees Ya Na Andani's alleged killer

Accra, July 24, GNA - Yidana Sugri, the alleged assassin of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, Paramount Chief of Dagbon Traditional Area, on Wednesday walked out of an Accra High Court a freeman into shouts of "Allah is Great! Allah is Great!"

There was jubilation soon after the Judge pronounced Sugri, who was charged with conspiracy and the murder of the Ya-Na, acquitted and discharged.

Some of his relations, who had converged at the Court, clapped, shouted and attempted to embrace him but Prison Officers prevented them and whisked him into the court cells to complete the necessary documentation.

The Court presided over by Mr Justice Yaw Appau had at an earlier sitting acquitted and discharged Iddrisu Gyanfo, who was in the dock with Sugri, after the Prosecution had told the Court that it could not establish his guilt.

At Wednesday's sitting, the court noted that the Prosecution had not been able to prove a case against Yidana, as the evidence adduced by it were discredited and was full of suspicion.

The Court held that the Prosecution had not been able to prove the charge of conspiracy levelled against the accused person.

It explained that in charging Sugri with conspiracy, he should have had accomplices, who were known, but the Prosecution could not name any. "One person cannot be charged with conspiracy," the Judge said.

The Court noted that throughout the hearing, none of the Prosecution Witnesses said he or she saw Sugri killing the Ya-Na.

"If none of the Prosecution Witnesses saw Sugri killing the Ya-Na, then what is the basis for charging him?" The Judge asked.

"So far the Prosecution has been able to prove three ingredients of murder but the law says that if the Prosecution is not able to prove all the ingredients the Jury should return a verdict of not guilty."

The Prosecution was to establish five ingredients: That somebody was murdered; that Sugri killed the Ya-Na; that Ya-Na died of the harm; that the harm was unlawful and that the harm was caused by Sugri.

The Court noted that the Prosecution had been able to prove that Ya-Na was dead but could not prove that Yidana killed him.

"If the Investigator, who conducted the investigations do not know who killed the Ya-Na, why charge Sugri?" The Court asked.

Earlier, the Investigator had told the Court that all the Prosecution Witnesses were given to him by Lawyer Ibrahim Mahama, and the Judge said, "all these puts doubt in the mind of the Court. "No evidence was led to prove that Sugri, whom most of the Witnesses claimed they saw dancing with the hand of the Ya-Na saw him with any dangerous weapon."

Citing the evidence of the Pathologists, the Court said he could not tell the cause of Ya-Na's death.

The Court noted that the Prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence instead of definitive ones to compel irresistible conclusions. The Court wondered how all the Prosecution Witnesses said that they only saw the accused dancing with the hand of Ya-Na but could not identify anybody.

It further stated that throughout the trial Sugri had denied hanging the arm of the Ya-Na on his neck, adding that there was no direct evidence linking Sugri.

The Judge said the Prosecution had told the Court that Sugri was holding the severed hand of the Ya-Na and that it was taken to the Bolin Lana but the Pathologist had stated that the whole body was burnt. "At what point was the hand presented to the Bolin Lana and at what time was the body burnt?" the Judge asked.