The family of the late Mahama petitioned Chief Justice Georgina Wood over the conduct of the judge, Lawrence L. Mensah, claiming he has been overburdening prosecutors with demands such as ensuring that their witnesses in the matter are brought in time for a speedy trial.
They also questioned the judge’s decision to remand Afoko in police cell instead of prison custody. The petition caused the court to temporarily suspend the trial of the case which is to be heard by a seven-man jury constituted by the court.
In court Friday, the judge announced the Chief Justice’s response to the petition, saying the CJ has asked him [the judge] to proceed to hear the case on grounds that the content of the petition did not warrant change of trial judge, TV3’s Godfred Tanam reported.
Afoko Afoko and one other, Asabke Alangdi, who is on the run, have been charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit crime and murder. A third accomplice, Musa Issa, was granted bail after the Attorney-General had advised it does not have enough evidence to charge him.
Battle over evidence
Meanwhile, the court has ordered the prosecution to furnish the defence team with pictures of the crime scene and all statement of the witnesses the prosecution intends calling to give evidence in the case.
It followed an application filed by the defence counsel led by Mr Ekow Ampah-Korsah. Chief State Attorney, Mathew Amponsah opposed the application arguing that it was not mandatory under the law for the prosecution to provide such documents to the defence.
He told the court giving such documents to the defence will mean surrendering the prosecution’s entire case docket to the defence.
But the court disagreed with the prosecution and ordered that the documents be given to the defence as it was key in defending the case against the accused person.
Police cell full
Prosecutors told the court Friday that the Police cell where Afoko is being held is full, hence prayed the court to remand him to prison custody, Tanam reported.
The request of the prosecution came as a surprise to Afoko as he shook his head while he listened to the submission of the prosecutors from the witness box, Tanam added.
Counsel Afoko challenged the request but the judge overruled that.
The case has been adjourned to May 21 , when hearing is expected to start in the case.
Facts of the case
It is the prosecution’s case that on May 14, 2015, Gregory’s brother, Mr Paul Afoko, and Mr Kwabena Agyepong, arrived in Bolgatanga for a meeting.
The late Mahama was said to have organised thugs to violently attack them for campaigning against Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The court head thugs scuttled the planned meeting by the two at the Asumsolon Guest House.
According to the prosecution, Gregory Afoko who was upset by the issue confronted Mahama but was chased out by thugs.
Gregory and his accomplice were said to have formed another youth group to protect persons perceived to be against Nana Akufo-Addo.
The prosecution said the accused persons held a series of meetings with the youth and on May 20, 2015, they laid ambush at Mahama’s residence with a substance suspected to be acid.
“The deceased returned home around 11:10 p.m. in his pickup vehicle, with registration number NR 761 – 14, and immediately he parked the vehicle in front of his house, the suspects went close and signalled him to roll down the glass.
“The deceased identified the suspects to be party members and rolled down the glass to talk to them. Suddenly, the suspects poured the substance suspected to be acid on his head, face and other parts of his body and fled on a motorbike.
“The deceased started screaming for help and his wife, Hajia Zenabu Adams, came to the aid of the deceased and managed to bring him out of the vehicle,” the prosecution stated.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana