The 14 persons who allegedly killed military officer major Maxwell Adam Mahama are claiming innocence as they told the Accra High Court Wednesday they are not guilty to the murder charges filed against them by the State.
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.
At the court’s sitting Wednesday, all the 14 accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges, something that seemingly shocked Captain Retd. Dennis Mahama, father of the late soldier, as he looked closely as they pled to the charges, TV3’s Selorm Amenya reported.
Although five of the accused persons had told the court on March 5 that they did not have money to hire a lawyer, they had legal representation when the case was called on Wednesday.
Meanwhile the court, presided over by Justice Mariama Owusu, an appeal court judge with additional responsibilities, was forced to adjourn the case due to inadequate number of jurors in court at the time.
A total of seven jurors were expected to be selected from a pool of 15 to constitute the jury to hear the case but only seven of them were present at the time the case came up.
Those who were not available, the court heard, were handling other cases in different courts.
State prosecutors have indicated they intend to call15 witnesses and provide some 52 exhibits in the form of video recordings of the incident, cement blocks among some possessions of the deceased soldier as evidence in stating their case.
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.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana