Afoko’s bail application before new judge

The case of Gregory Afoko, one of the suspects that poured acid on the late Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Mr Adams Mahama, has been put before a new Judge.

When the case was called at an Accra High Court, the trial Judge said the case docket was brought to his Court in the morning.

According to Mr Justice K.A Okwabi, the trial judge, he had not read through the motion filed by the state and defence team.

Due to that, both counsel for Afoko, Mr Ekow Ampah Korsah and Mr Mathew Amponsah, Chief State Attorney agreed to come back to court on August 11.

The trial judge obliged them and adjourned the matter.

Afoko had earlier gone to the Human Rights Court (High Court division) presided over by Mr Justice Kofi Essel Mensah to seek for bail following ruling by an Accra Magistrate Court which declined him bail because he was facing a charge of murder.

Due to legal vacation embarked by the superior court judges, the matter was put before another judge in the person of Mr Justice Okwabi.

When the case was called before the Human Rights court earlier, state attorneys were on strike. However Mr Amponsah entered appearance on behalf of the State and responded to Afoko motion for bail.

The State vehemently opposed the granting of bail to Afoko, saying the offence of murder is one of the offences that bail is not granted, and that the Police are feverishly working to ensure that investigations are concluded.

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The State in their affidavit in opposition filed at the Human Rights Court noted that there had not been unreasonable delay in the trial and that Afoko was likely to hamper on-going investigations.

It stated that, as soon as investigations are concluded, Afoko and his accomplice Musah Issah would be indicted and committed to stand trial before a court of competent jurisdiction.

Issah, Afoko’s accomplice, is being held for abetment of crime. Afoko and Issah’s pleas have not been taken.

Afoko in his application for bail stated among others that, “the facts as presented by prosecution do not bring the applicant under the ambit of the offence of murder or conspiracy to commit murder.”

He contended that on May 21, he was arrested while he was asleep at about 0300 hours in his house in Bolgatanga and the Police tied him to the callous act.

Afoko averred that he was not present at the scene where the crime took place.

“That my lawyers have filed a notice of Alibi indicating that I was at my father’s residence in Bolgatanga and was I was asleep at that material time when the deceased was attacked.”

Afoko said the assertion that the deceased mentioned his name could not be true, adding that, “it was a case of mistaken identity”.

He said the forensic test on a cup and gallon allegedly found at the scene of the crime contained the acid did not establish any connection with him.

He stated that the test was negative.

On July 10, a Magistrates’ Court in Accra admitted Issah to bail.

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The Magistrates’ Court presided over by Mr Worlanyo Kotoku admitted Issah to bail of GH₡ 20,000.00 with four sureties.

He is to report to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service before noon from Monday to Thursday until the case is concluded.

The Court noted that, under Section 96 (7) of the Criminal Code, the Court could grant bail as the accused person was charged with abetment of crime.

It, however, declined bail in respect of Afoko, saying the Court did not have the jurisdiction to do so and advised counsel to go to the High Court.

This was after the two accused persons’ lawyers had repeated bail application protesting their continuous detention in custody.

Meanwhile, family members of the late Mahama, have registered their displeasure over the granting of bail to Musah.

The family, through their lawyers, has, therefore, filed a motion at the High Court to quash the decision by an Accra Magistrates’ Court to grant bail to Issah.

According to the family, the Magistrate Court had no jurisdiction to grant Musah bail hence its decision should be quashed.

Mr Mahama was attacked with acid on his way home and later died in the hospital in May.

He reportedly named some of the persons who attacked him.

According to the Police, Afoko after his arrest, was asked to lead the Police to the house of his accomplice, Asabke Alangdi but “he rather took them to the father’s house.”

The Police said they later located the house of the second person but the suspect had gotten wind of their presence and absconded with his wife, leaving behind their baby.

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A gallon, which allegedly contained some of the substance, and a plastic cup, were retrieved from the scene for forensic examination,” the Police stated.

The Police said: a “post mortem examination was conducted on the body of the deceased and the Pathologist gave the cause of the death as shocked lungs and extensive acid burns.”

Issah was arrested for allegedly buying the acid used for the attack.

Source: GNA