Accra � An Accra High Court hearing the case of the alleged murderers of the late Major Maxwell Mahama has successfully empanel a seven-member jury to commence the trial.
The process was nearly stalled after some of the accused through their lawyers, initially rejected the first two potential jurors presented to the court for selection but finally one person was selected, bringing the number to seven.
The jury now comprises six males and one female, who would help the court in the trial the case of which the court duly sworn them in accordingly.
At the last adjourned date, the court was unsuccessful in empanelling the jury because some potential jurors presented by the court said they were uncomfortable being part of the trial.
Ms Mariama Owusu, the trial judge, urged the members of the jury to pay attention to only what transpired in the court as the case progressed and not to be distracted by media reports outside the courtroom.
Before the Prosecution could make their open statements to the jury, Mr Patrick Anim Addo, one of the counsels in the case objected to the opening statement of the Chief State Attorney even though she was yet to speak formally.
He said the prosecution should not make any reference to confession statements obtained from his clients during investigations in the opening statements to the jury, because documents available to him indicated, his clients made confessions to the Police.
He said those confession statements were obtained improperly and the Jury would be prejudiced, if the court allow the prosecution to make reference to the confession which was obtained through threats, inducements and force.
The Prosecution opposed to that, saying we have not even made any statement and you want the court to restrict us from using these words but the court went ahead to allow the Prosecution to make the opening statement.
Mrs Evelyn Keelson, the Chief State Attorney in her opening statement to the jury said the late Major Maxwell Mahama was the Commander of a Military detachment stationed at Diaso in the Upper Denkyira West District in the Central Region.
She said on May 29, 2017 at about 8am, the Major Mahama, wearing civilian clothes but his sidearm, left his detachment base for a 20-kilometer jogging.
She said the Military officer got to the outskirts of Denkyira Obuasi, where a number of women were selling foodstuff by the roadside, he stopped to interact with the women briefly and when leaving the scene the women saw the Officer’s sidearm tucked to his waist and as soon as he left, one of the women telephoned the Assembly member in the area to report what they had seen.
Mrs Keelson said without verifying the information, the assembly man mobilised a number of young men from the town including the accused to confront him and a number of the young men mounted roadblocks and some of them armed themselves with locally manufacturing guns and moved towards the main road to search for him.
The Prosecution said when the young men found him, some of them started walking toward him and without giving him the opportunity to explain and identify himself, they started attacking him and by this time a lot more people had gathered and he sensing danger began to run shouting he was not an armed robber but the crowd kept chasing him.
She said the late Major Mahama on running came across a farmer on motorbike and he pleaded with him to take him but however, the crowd threatened to shoot the farmer so, he declined to move the motorbike, so the Officer got down and continued running.
She said the deceased then saw another motor rider, who was heading towards town and pleaded with him to take him away and promising to pay him any amount and the motor rider obliged but, however, the sound of a gun shots from the crowd deceased to fall off the bike.
The Chief State Attorney said the deceased managed to jump onto an articulated truck but the young men threatened to shoot the driver of the truck and one of them armed managed to shoot the wind screen of the truck, so he was forced to drop from the truck.
The Prosecution said the deceased continued to run this time amidst warning shots and was still explaining to them that he was a soldier and not an armed robber but the crowd chased him and accosted and attacked him with implements such as clubs, cement blocks, machetes among others killing him and then burnt a portion of his body.
She told the jury that the body was sent to the Dunkwa-on-offin Hospital and later to the 37 Military Hospital, where an autopsy report indicated that, he died from a multiple head injuries and from an unnatural cause.
She said the accused were charged with abetment of crime to wit murder and conspiracy to commit crime to wit murder and additional charge of murder for some of them.
The Chief State Attorney said the prosecution in all, they would present 15 witnesses and 52 incriminating evidence including videos, picture and at the right time, they would show to the jury how each accused participated fully in the death of the Military Officer.
Mr Augustine Obuor and Augustine Gyamfi, both defence Lawyers for some of the accused persons advised the jury to pay particular attention to the evidence being tendered by the state during the trial process.
They appealed to the seven-member jury to particularly pay attention to evidence brought against their client and see, if what the State was alleging could be true.
Is slapping somebody, insulting someone, chasing someone cause their death, Mr Obuor said.
“You should not follow the normal Ghanaian way of doing things, do not follow the media things, look at the evidence critically,” Mr Gyamfi added.
Mr Anim Addo also cautioned the jury not to be prejudice in the trial process, adding that do not discuss what happens in court with your girlfriends, mistress, wives and husbands.
The court adjourned the case for the Prosecution to open its case.
Source: Ghana News Agency