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Crime & Punishment of Thursday, 27 May 2021

Source: GNA

Court throws out motion to move jury to crime scene of murdered MP

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An Accra High Court has thrown out a motion praying it to move a seven-member jury to the crime scene of murdered J.B Dankwah Adu, former Member of Parliament for Abuakwa North.

Defence Counsel Yaw Danquah, the lawyer for the two persons allegedly involved in the murder, wanted the jury to inspect the crime scene and see the physical features of the scene so it could deliberate and appreciate arguments of the State and the defence.

The accused persons: Daniel Asiedu, aka, Sexy Dondon, and Vincent Bossu, aka, Junior Agogo are being held for various roles in the murder of the former Legislature.

The Trial Judge, Justice Mrs Lydia Osei Marfo, refused the application saying that the applicant had not demonstrated any material issues, which could be resolved by the inspection of the crime scene.

The Court said Article 19 (2) (c) of the 1992 Constitution deemed the accused persons as innocent of the offence charge until otherwise established by the Court.

It said even so the Evidence Act mandated the prosecution to establish the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt.

“The Accused person has no onus to establish his innocence whatsoever. This case can be resolved without having to visit the crime scene,” the Court said.

Earlier, arguing the motion to move the jury to the crime scene, Mr Danquah said giving the lapse of time of when the purported crime took place and the time of the trial, it had been nearly six years.

Counsel said it had become evident in the course of the trial that witnesses were relying on the relapse of time to give a vivid account of what they thought happened.

The Counsel said the jury needed to observe things for themselves rather than rely on photographs and videos taken from a particular angle, which did not give a holistic view of the place.

Mr Danquah held that the crime scene was a material issue in the trial and so it was important for the jury (judges of fact) to factually and physically see for themselves what the scene looked like.

According to him, justice must be afforded to Aseidu because the charges against him, when found guilty, could be a death sentence at the extreme or life imprisonment.

“Accused should be afforded this visit to help all parties involved to establish their case.”

The State, led by Mrs Sefakor Batsa, Principal State Attorney, opposed the application, saying the decision to move to the locus could only be taken by the Court upon satisfaction that the visit would result in a material issue, which could be resolved by inspection.

She said the application did not provide any compelling reasons to satisfy the Court to move to locus considering the charges levelled against the applicant.

The Principal State Attorney held that the charges preferred against applicants could be resolved based on evidence adduced in the courtroom and there would be no need to visit the crime scene.

“So far evidence adduced in this courtroom has not resulted in any conflict, which can only be resolved by visuals of the crime scene and evidence adduced by the prosecution witnesses were straightforward,” Mrs Batsa said.

She, therefore, prayed the court to dismiss the application.

Mr Stephen Apraku, a former security man of the MP, was to continue to answer questions under cross-examination on Wednesday but due to the application, the matter has been adjourned to Thursday, May 27.

Asiedu and Bossu are standing trial for the death of the former Legislator at his residence at Shaishie, near East Legon in Accra on February 9, 2016.

Asiedu is being held on the charges of murder and robbery and additionally been charged together with Bossu for conspiracy to commit crime, to wit robbery.

They have denied the charges before a seven-member jury and remanded into custody by the Court.