You are here: HomeNews2020 12 16Article 1135334

Crime & Punishment of Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Source: Kasapa FM

JB ‘killers’ case: Court orders Legal Aid to assign lawyer to accused persons

An Accra High Court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei-Marfo has ordered the Regional Legal Aid Director to act on the court’s order by assigning a lawyer to defend Daniel Asiedu and Vincent Bossu who are standing trial for murder and conspiracy to commit robbery.

The two have been held for the murder of the Abuakwa North Member of Parliament Joseph Boakye Danquah Adu since 2016.

At the last adjourned date, the court had tasked the registrar of the court to inform the Regional Legal Aid Director to appoint a lawyer aid from their outfit or from outside to represent the accused persons.

But when the case was called, the court said the letter was prepared and served on the legal aid. “Unfortunately we have not had any response from them. Safe to say that a lawyer from the Legal Aid Isaac Okyere Kumah is in court in respect of a different case which the court had also asked the Legal Aid to provide a lawyer for the accused persons.

“Mr. Isaac Okyere Kumah is hereby ordered to inform his director to act upon the court’s order as far as this case is concerned. It should be done before the next date.”

The case has since been adjourned to January 15, 2021.

Lawyer abandons Daniel Asiedu

At the court sitting on November 27, Augustines Obour, Lawyer for Daniel Asiedu, the self-confessed killer of the late Abuakwa North Member of Parliament Joseph Boakye-Adu withdrew his services from the case.

Lawyer Obour who was appointed by the legal aid to represent Asiedu and one Vincent Bossu who is on the charge of conspiracy has been representing the accused persons since 2016.

He has however been absent from court since the covid-19 pandemic broke out and after three orders from the court, he finally surfaced.

Withdrawal of service

When the case was called before the Criminal Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, Lawyer Obour said public pronouncements by the accused person means he cannot continue to represent them.

“I have a statement to make and I want to be on the record. Respectfully my Lord, I used to appear before this court differently constituted as counsel for the accused persons.

“We worked until the ruling in respect of the Medical Doctor who examined First accused person (Daniel Asiedu) upon an order of this court,” he said.

He said “This matter was adjourned as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We were to be informed of the next date the court is sitting. It was only about three weeks ago that I have had a hearing notice inviting me to appear before you for proceedings involving the accused persons to continue.”

He added that “I have duly appeared per the notice attached to the hearing notice.”

It’s difficult to handle this case

Lawyer Obuor said, “I want to state that I have personally read and seen a video of first accused making statements regarding the admission of the crime charge to the whole world including the jurors who are going trial this case.”

According to him “I, therefore, find it difficult to defend this matter when he has told the whole world and jurors of the crime charged.

“I have read the laws and say accused standing trial shall not plead guilty to the hearing of the jury. I, therefore, find it difficult to comprehend the circumstances of the first accused person for the jurors to make a decision.

“I’m sincerely worried about this situation coupled with the fact that the nearly four years now no High Court is ready to grant first or both two of them bail to enable me to have a conference with them,” he told the court.

Lawyer Obuor said, “Out of the cumbersome proceedings available for our office to meet with Accused persons.”

“I humbly wish to state that I will not be able to represent the accused persons in this matter from this morning. Even though the matter was handed to me by Legal Aid, I wanted to do my best to do justice in this matter,” he noted.

I disagree with you

Responding to the submission of Lawyer Obour, the court presided over by Justice Marfo said, even though “I respect your decision,” the court disagrees with some of the reasons stated for the withdrawal.

“In the first place, we are in an era of vibrant social media where anybody that comes to this case is put in the public domain,” she said.

The court said “we cannot have control over that and we know as lawyers that those public sentiments, opinions and emotions do not establish prima facie case against them unless prosecution established onerous burden on them until they are able to put out a cogent and incontrovertible evidence before the court.”

The court added that, “the jurors are yet to be empanelled and nobody has any idea who they will be. ”

The court explained that, “as soon as they get empanelled, the court warns them of their duties, that is, abandoned any stories they may have heard or may be hearing in the cause of the trial and concentrate attention only on evidence prosecution will be leading in the course of the trial.”

The court said even when an accused person pleaded guilty in a murder trial the court is obliged to enter a plea of not guilty until his his guilty or otherwise is established judiciously

While granting the request of the lawyer, the court said “On this note counsel of accused Augustines Obuor is finally discharged from his representation of accused persons.”

Legal aid

The court has therefore directed the Registrar of the Court to let the regional director of the Legal Aid be notified by a letter with the court note for her to appoint another legal representation for the accused persons from her outfit whether from within or outside.

The registrar was also directed to ensure that there is a pool of jurors available in court for them to be impanelled at the next court sitting.

The case has been adjourned to January 15, 2020.

Join our Newsletter