General News of Monday, 16 April 2018

Source: 3news.com

‘I’m uncomfortable’ - Juror begs judge in Major Mahama ‘killers’ case

Mahama Suspects Court Some of the 14 persons indicted to stand trial for the murder of the military officer

A juror on Monday begged a judge to exclude her from the seven-member jury being empanelled by the Accra High Court to hear the murder case of the military officer Major Maxwell Adam Mahama.

“I am not comfortable,” the female juror told Justice Mariama Owusu, an appeal court judge with additional responsibilities, after she was selected from three others to complete the seven-member jury, TV3’s Godred Tanam reported.

Though the 14 accused persons did not object to the selection of the woman as a member of the jury, she begged the court to exclude her, insisting she was uncomfortable in being part of the case.

She was tight-lipped when asked by the judge to give reasonable cause as to why she wanted to recuse herself from the jury.

The court had on April 12 failed to empanel the seven member jury for the trial of the case after the accused persons rejected 8 out of the 14 potential jurors who were presented to the court for selection.

Six jurors; four males and two females were however selected.

At the court’s sitting on Monday, April 16, three more jurors were nominated for one to be selected to cap the six who were empaneled last week.



However, our correspondent reported that one of the three informed the court she was due for school admission interview, noting that she was preparing to further her education.

The only man among the three also said he was uncomfortable being part of the case.

It was then left with the woman who the accused persons did not object to her inclusion but insisted of being taken off the case.

In view of the development, Counsel for the accused persons explained the woman’s demeanour showed she was going to obstruct smooth trial of the case if she was allowed to sit in, our correspondent reported.

The judge thus granted the woman’s request and adjourned the case to April 25 to enable the court get one more juror to complete the panel for the trial commence.

Major Mahama was lynched and parts of his body burnt by some residents of Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region in 2017 when they allegedly mistook him for an armed robber.

At least 52 people were earlier arrested and put before a District Court in Accra but 38 of them were discharged, leaving the 14 others who prosecutors said had a case to answer in the gruesome murder that shocked the country.

On February 15, the District Court committed them to stand trial at the High Court after facts and documents presented by State Attorneys provided ample evidence against the 14 suspects.

The assembly member for Denkyira-Obuasi William Baah, said to have incited the residents of the town to lynch the late military officer faces a charge of abetment of crime while the 13 others are facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder.

Nine of them are facing additional charge of murder.

All the 14 accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.



Background

Major Mahama, a member of the 5th Infantry of the Ghana Armed Forces who was on official duty, was lynched at Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region on May 29, 2017 when some residents mistook for an armed robber.

A part of his body was set ablaze.

His body was retrieved filled with marks of assault including multiple deep cut wounds on the head, the Police said.

His murder reignited calls for an end to instant mob justice which was becoming rampant across the country and led to the death of a number of people.

Maj. Mahama was given a state burial and government resolved to cater for his wife and two children with the establishment of Major Mahama Trust Fund which is currently before parliament.