The Fast Track High Court in Accra, on Wednesday acquitted Private Eric Modzaka, one of the three soldiers standing trial for the murder of Alhaji Issa Mobilla, former Northern Regional Chairman of Convention People’s Party (CPP), on charges of conspiracy and murder.
The court, however, asked Corporal Yaw Appiah, who is now on admission at the hospital, and Private Seth Goka, now at large to open their defence.
The court had given its ruling on a submission of no case filed by Private Modzaka and Corporal Appiah’s lawyer.
The two soldiers contended that the prosecution after calling nine witnesses, had failed to make a case against them.
In the court’s ruling, Mr Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh, the trial judge, noted that the charge of conspiracy could not hold against all the three accused persons, as their actions were not based on premeditation but rather responded spontaneously.
The court presided over by Mr Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh, noted that the beating meted out on the deceased was to ascertain the truth and they did that based on instructions from Adjutant and a Commanding Officer.
The court noted that Corporal Appiah, who appeared before a board of inquiry, admitted that he beat the deceased with other soldiers based on instructions from his superiors, who had told him (Corporal Appiah) to deal with a man who would be brought from town to Kamina Barracks.
In the case of Modzaka, the court noted that before a board of inquiry, he pleaded alibi, meaning he was not present when the deceased was beaten.
The court noted that the prosecution presented two versions of facts. In the first instance, the prosecution alleged that Modzaka took part in the beatings, and in another instance said he was not present when the incident took place.
The court said the prosecution did not investigate Modzaka’s alibi properly and no case had been made against Modzaka.
Ms Penelope Mamattah, Chief State Attorney, said the State would appeal against the ruling.
Defence counsel, Mr Thaddeus Sory, said: “I feel vindicated that I call for the re-trial of the matter”.
The court has adjourned the matter to October 30.
Corporal Yaw Appiah and Private Eric Modzaka, who were facing two charges of conspiracy to murder and murdering of Mobilla, on December 9, 2004, denied the charges and were remanded by the court.
The late Alhaji Mobilla was arrested by the police on December 9, 2004 for allegedly supplying the youth in Tamale with guns to foment trouble.
While in Police custody, the police claimed they received information that Alhaji Mobilla’s followers and sympathizers were mobilizing to free him.
The deceased was consequently transferred from police cells to the Kamina Military Barracks and handed over to the three accused persons.
The prosecution said Alhaji Mobilla died in military custody three hours after he had been handed over to the accused persons, who were on duty that day.
Report by a pathologist revealed that the deceased was sent to the hospital dead, and that he died from multiple wounds.