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General News of Friday, 16 February 2018

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Major Mahama ‘killers’ search for new lawyers

There’s a new twist to the trial of the 14 persons accused of killing Major Maxwell Adam Mahama.

When the trial commences on March 5, 2018 at the Criminal Division of the Accra High Court, some of the accused will have to look for new lawyers because the lawyer representing them, Mr George Bernard Shaw, can no longer represent all of them as defence counsel.

Sources close to the case have revealed that some of the accused are likely to incriminate others during the trial, for which reason Mr Shaw has decided he is unable to protect the interest of all the 14 accused persons.

He informed the court of his decision at the first appearance of his clients before the High Court on Thursday.

The court, presided over by Mrs Justice Mariama Owusu, a Justice of the Court of Appeal with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, directed counsel to explain his decision to his clients to enable them to take appropriate steps to get new lawyers.

If the accused are unable to get lawyers, the state has an obligation to provide them with legal aid.

Accused

Major Mahama, who was on official duty to curb the activities of illegal miners, was lynched at Denkyira Obuasi on May 29, 2017, an incident that threw the country into a state of mourning.

The case moved to the High Court from the Accra Central District Court after the 14 accused were committed to stand trial on the charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

The accused are William Baah, aka Misty; the Assembly Member for Denkyira Obuasi; Bernard Asamoah, aka Daddy; Kofi Nyame, aka Abortion; Akwasi Baah, Kwame Tuffour, Joseph Appiah Kubi, Michael Anim and Bismark Donkor.

The others are John Boasie, Akwasi Asante, Charles Quaining, Emmanuel Baidoo, Bismark Abanga and Kwadwo Animah.

Trial

The 14 alleged killers of the military officer will be prosecuted by a team of state attorneys, led by a Chief State Attorney, Ms Evelyn Keelson.

In line with rules governing murder trials, a jury is expected to be empanelled for the trial on March 5, 2018, while other preliminary issues are also expected to be dealt with by the court before the trial starts.

At yesterday’s hearing, Mrs Justice Owusu directed the court registrar to ensure that a pool of jurors was available on March 5, 2018 for selection and empanelling of the jury.

The prosecution is expected to call 15 witnesses and also rely on 52 exhibits, including Major Mahama’s burnt shirt, mobile phone, a pen drive which contains the video recording of the lynching as evidence in the trial.

Others include the tools that were allegedly used by the accused to lynch the military officer. These are blocks of cement, stones, an iron rod, sticks and two locally manufactured single-barrelled guns.