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General News of Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

'Secret presence of the soldiers' caused Major Major Mahama lynching - Lawyer

A Defense lawyer of the persons standing trial over the murder of Major Maxwell Mahama has blamed the lynching of the soldier in May 2017 on what he calls "the secret presence of the soldiers in the area".

Patrick Anim Addo, while cross-examining the late soldier's Deputy, WO Sabi Kwasi, said the police and leadership of the Denkyira Obuasi in the Central region where the officer was lynched, were not aware of the presence of the military team there.

The cross-examination which lasted well over an hour focused on the soldier's knowledge of their mission to provide protection to the mining company C and G Aleska.

W.O Sabi Kwasi reiterated his earlier testimony to the court that he was not aware the company needed protection.

Mr Addo also quizzed the soldier on whether their deployment was to prevent illegal miners from interfering with the work of the mining company.

WO Sabi simply replied they were protecting the company.

It was at this stage that the Defence lawyer suggested to the witness that one of the main causes of this tragedy was the secret presence of the soldiers in the area as the police and leadership of the community were not aware of their operations.

The soldier replied that he couldn't tell.

WO Sabi Kwasi was subsequently discharged by trial Judge Justice Mariama Owusu after the jurors had turned down the opportunity to ask the witness any question. The state is expected to call its next witness on June 12 when hearing of the case resumes.

The state has charged 14 suspects with murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

The 14 accused are standing trial at the Accra High Court after a lower court, Accra Central District Court found enough evidence to warrant a trial.

More than 50 suspects were first arrested but after investigations, 22 were arraigned on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

The state prosecutors dropped charges against eight for lack of sufficient evidence to sustain the charges.

Chief State Attorney, Evelyn Keelson has tendered in 53 exhibits for the trial including forensic reports, post-mortem report on the deceased, video recordings, two single-barrelled shotguns, a six-inch cement block and a partly burnt shirt.

The rest are one clog pistol, an iPhone, a metal bar, a stone, two pellets, one empty cartridge, seven rounds of ammunition and photograph of the crime scene.

But the family of the late soldier has said the 14 suspects are too few for a crime that involved a large mob.