Judge declines adjudication on Ya Na’s case
Mr Justice Anthony Oppong, a High Court Judge, presiding over the case involving the alleged murder of Ya Na Yakubu Andani II and some of his elders in 2002, on Monday declined adjudication.
He, therefore, called on Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Wood to transfer the case from his court “because he does not feel safe to handle the case”.
The presiding judge said the recent pronouncement by Dr Kwabena Adjei, National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on the Judiciary, politicisation of the case as well as the public perception about the Judiciary were some of the reasons why he declined adjudication.
Fourteen accused persons are on trial for their alleged involvement in the murder.
They are Mohammed Habib Tijani, Former Yendi District Chief Executive, Iddrisu Iddi, 76, and Alhaji Baba Iddrisu Abdalla, 54.
The others are Kwame Alhassan 53, Mohammadu Abdulai, 57, Saibu Mohammed, 34, Alhassan Briamah, 40, Sani Moro, and Mohammed Abukari Usifu.
The rest are Baba Ibrahim, aka Baba Zey, Alhassan Mohammed aka Mohammed Champion, Mohammed Mustapha, Yakubu Yusif aka Leftee, and Zakaria Yakubu aka Zakaria Forest who is on the run.
Mr Justice Oppong, said “the past few days have been the dark period in his 10-year career as a judge because of weird and unmeritorious accusation of bias against him”.
He said he took a judicial notice of a news item on the airwaves accusing him of being a drunkard, and allegedly discussing the case at a drinking spot.
Mr Justice Oppong denied the allegations and challenged his accusers to provide the evidence or render an apology to him.
He pointed out that the case before the court was not an NDC issue because staff at the Attorney General’s Department, were not NDC activists and should see themselves as professionals and employees of the State.
Mr Justice Oppong explained that the case before the court was a jury trial and the jury would pronounce judgment.
Earlier, there were exchanges between the prosecution led by Mr Anthony Rexford Wiredu, Principal State Attorney and the Defence Counsels made up of Mr Philip Addison, Kwame Akuffo, Atta Akyea and Alhassan Abukari over sitting arrangements at the court.
Mr Wiredu said the prosecution usually sat at the left side of the courtroom and appealed to the defence team already seated to shift to the right, but they refused and asked the prosecution to move to the right.
When Mr Justice Oppong arrived he calmed down tempers after which Mr Wiredu told the court that the prosecution filed an application for prohibition and judicial review on the case on August 20.
However, the presiding judge said at the last sitting, he asked the prosecution to file a formal application on the notice of bias raised against him and supported it with an affidavit.
Mr Justice Oppong said there was no application before him and therefore could not give any ruling.
Sometime in March 2002, the late Ya Na and some of his elders were killed following a clash between the two royal gates in Dagbon, Abudus and Andanis.
After the clash, Idrissu Janfo and Sugri were arrested and put before an Accra Fast Track High Court for the alleged murder but were acquitted and discharged.
Later, government and security agencies in a fresh attempt to find the murders, conducted a dawn swoop at Yendi during which 41 persons were rounded up.
After screening them in Bimbilla, 33 were granted self-recognisance bail, while the rest were escorted to Accra and put before the court.