The seven-member jury on the case involving the two Nigerians accused of kidnapping and killing four Takoradi girls had the opportunity on Tuesday to examine the remains of the girls in court.
The remains were brought to the Sekondi High Court following a request by the jury during the cross examination of the Head of the Pathology Department of the Police Hospital in Accra, Superintendent Dr. Osei Owusu.
The Head of the Pathology Department of the Police Hospital in Accra was the 19th witness in the case involving the two Nigerians – Samuel Wills and John Orji – who have been accused of killing the four girls.
The pathologist told the Sekondi High Court presided over by Justice Richard Adjei Frimpong on October 23, 2020 that, on August 3, 2019, he took custody of five boxes containing suspected human remains retrieved from a crime scene in Takoradi.
According to him, he received the boxes from the Director of the Forensic Science Laboratory of the facility.
Supt. Dr. Owusu Afriyie added that subsequently, on August 7, 2019, he received another set of suspected human remains in five boxes, also retrieved from a crime scene in Takoradi in relation to the same case.
He explained that at the end of their work, which included that of an independent pathologist, they concluded that the skeletal remains were those of girls.
Following his evidence-in-chief, the jury then requested that the remains be brought to court.
Presiding judge Justice Richard Adjei Frimpong then ordered Supt. Dr. Owusu Afriyie to bring the remains to the next hearing.
When the case was called Tuesday, Supt. Dr. Osei Owusu and his team were ready with the remains accompanied by heavy security of fully armed men.
Four coffins said to contain the remains were sent to the judge’s chamber.
The jury, the presiding judge, the prosecuting and defence teams together with the pathologist and his team then proceeded into the chamber.
After about five minutes, the team came back. The jury told the court that they were satisfied with what they saw.
Samuel Wills’s counsel George Essiful-Ansah asked the pathologist to explain why the height of the skeletons appear the same.
Responding, Supt. Dr. Owusu Afriyie explained that the heights are not the same and that there is a measurement attached to each skeleton indicating the height and that one could make the mistake that the height are the same by just looking at them.
Justice Adjei-Frimpong also asked whether the “ligature restraints” were external or internal.
The pathologist answered that from their observation, they can conclude that the “ligature restraints” were external.
Unfortunately, no family member was allowed to also examine the remains in court even though two of them were present.
Last year, family members of the four Takoradi girls were conveyed to the Police Hospital in Accra to examine the remains at the Police Hospital Morgue.
Father of Priscilla Bentum, Francis Bentum Ackon in an interview with 3news.com, after the court hearing, expressed disappointed that they were not given the opportunity to also examine the remains.
“We, as parents, did not see whatever was brought…whether it was indeed what was shown to us in Accra. Whatever they are doing, I leave them to God.”
The trial continues.
As at the time of filing this report, the 20th witness, an investigator with the Ghana Police Service, Peedah William Azumah, was in the dock testifying.
By Eric Yaw Adjei|3new.com|Ghana