Afoko’s trial – family demands new judge
The family of the late Adams Mahama, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Upper East Region Chairman who was allegedly murdered last year has petitioned the Chief Justice over the trial of Gregory Afoko, the suspect in the matter.
In a 19-point petition, the family (brothers of the deceased) is praying Mrs. Georgina T. Wood, the Chief Justice to assign a new judge to adjudicate over the case.
The petition signed by Nuhu Issah Akabila and Yusif Mahama was also copied to the Sitting Judge L. L Mensah, Mr Matthew Amponsah, Chief State Attorney and the High Court’s Registrar.
According to the family, the case “should be assigned to a new judge who will be conscious of the circumstances and will not be influenced in any way by any considerations”.
The family contended that the Trial Judge, Mr Justice L. L. Mensah had warned prosecution to ensure that at no time should a witness in the matter be unavailable if the trial began at 0900 hours.
They posit that considering the circumstances of the case, majority of their witness would be coming from Bolgatanga yet the Trial Judge went ahead to give prosecution that warning.
“That as family members, we became very worried of the position taken by the Justice as witnesses were yet to be contacted in order to enable them organize their respective schedules.
“We are apprehensive that justice may elude us in the manner in which the High Court Criminal Division 5, Accra presided over by His Lordship Mr L. L. Mensah Justice of the Court of Appeal us starting to handle the case,” the family stated in the petition.
The deceased relations said some of the witnesses were working under superiors and private organizations’ and as such, they need to seek clearance as well as make alternative arrangement before they could be moved from Bolgatanga to Accra.
They said taking a look at the cost of transport, accommodation and feeding of these witnesses, “no such arrangements have been made by the Police. It is obvious that we the family members have to shoulder these responsibilities”.
According to the deceased family, they appreciated the desire of the judge to hear the case expeditiously, however “the path he has chosen from the onset will only lead us to a miserable conclusion thereby worsening our agony and pain”.
On the issue of Afoko’s remand, the family of the deceased said they were disturbed the trial judge had given special treatment by ruling that he (Afoko) be kept in police custody instead of prison custody.
The deceased relations said the time which was being used as an excuse for Afoko to be in Police custody, was not necessary as the matter could be called at 1000 am instead of 0900 hours.
Afoko, a farmer, is being held on the charges of conspiracy to commit crime to wit murder and murder.
It is alleged that he carried out the act with one Alandgi Asake who is on the run.
A third accomplice, Musa Issa, was granted bail after the Attorney-General advised that there was not enough evidence to charge him.
Afoko has pleaded not guilty and he is to be tried before a seven member jury.