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Maj. Mahama murder trial: Court to decide on tendering of video evidence

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An Accra High Court hearing the case of the alleged murderers of the late Major Maxwell Mahama will on February 12, rule on tendering of an evidential video by the prosecution.

According to Chief inspector Samuel Agyakwa, the Investigator in the case, the video contains details of how the late Major Mahama was murdered, but the defence objected to the tendering of the evidence.

The witness said as part of the his investigations, he had watched the video and interviewed witnesses such as Agyarko, a fourth prosecution witness and Solomon Sackey, a fifth prosecution witness in the case as well as the accused who have also watched the video.

The witness who was being led by Mrs Evelyn Keelson, Chief State Attorney, to give his evidence in chief, said it came out that the following were not in the video William Baah, John Boasie, Bismarck Abanga, Kwadwo Anima, and Donkor Bismarck.

He said apart from those mentioned above, the rest were seen in the video hitting the late Mahama with implements like with sticks, Cement blocks and metal bars.

“My investigations also revealed that Charles Kwaning and Kwesi Asante were the ones, who shot the late Major Mahama,” he added.

He said after the investigations, it came to light that William Baah, John Boasie, Bismarck Abanga, Kwadwo Anima, and Donkor Bismarck used their fists to attack the deceased.

The investigator told the court that after watching the video, he copied it on a pen drive and with the assistance of a crime scene expert, they captured crime scene shots from the video.

He said the videos were captured in two parts from the assistance of the expert to make its slow motion, which had 5 minutes, 20 sec and the other 1 minute,20 sec, adding that the pen drive was part of the evidence at the committal stage.

This was the evidence, the prosecution wanted to tender on the pen drive, but there were series of objections from lawyers of the accused in the trial.

Mr Benard Shaw said he was objecting to the tendering of the pen drive, holding the video because the witness was not the author of the original video, the subject matter in the case.

He said according to the witness, he got the video for his investigations from social media, as such, the defence would be deprived of the opportunity to question the taker of the video not only to the state, quality and operational efficiency of the implement being used.

“And more importantly, whether the images we have been served with and which the prosecution is urging the court on the adjudication of the case has been doctored and in these days of massive photo shopping and the emergency of phenomenon of fake news,” he added.

He said it was against the tenets of fair trial to admit the video, when the defence could not question, who took it.

The defence said the fundamental rule of evidence was when witnesses give account of their personal knowledge, experience and perception of event, which they witnessed with their senses, they have to be cross examined on them.

Mr Shaw said the video was a hearsay, and as with how the law deals with hearsay, “l will urge the court in the exercise of its discretion to exclude it.

“It is my submission that the prejudicial value of the evidence far outweighs other considerations and that not all relevant evidence is admissible in court,” he said.

Mr Theophilus Donkor, another defence Counsel in matter also objected to the tendering of the video, saying “we must first watch the video before the issues of objection comes in”.

He said the documents does not meet the evidential standards.

Mrs Keelson in her response to the objections said a copy of the video has been served on the various counsel.

She said Mr Donkor’s initial objection to the video to be watched in open court before tendering was completely flawed because it was not supported by any rule of law or evidence.

“This video can only be watch if only it has been admitted in court as evidence,” she added.

The Court presided over my Mariama Owusu, a Justice of the Supreme Court, sitting as an additional High Court Judge said she needs to adjourn the matter to apprise herself with the Electronic Transimission Act before giving a ruling.

Fourteen persons are standing trial at an Accra High Court over the killing of Major Mahama, who was an officer of the 5th Infantry Battalion, at Burma Camp.

The late Major was on duty at Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region when on May 29, 2017 some residents allegedly mistook him for an armed robber and lynched him.

The mob had ignored his persistent plea that he was an officer of the Ghana Armed Forces.

The accused are William Baah, the Assembly member of Denkyira Obuasi, Bernard Asamoah alias Daddy, Kofi Nyame a.k.a Abortion, Akwasi Boah, Kwame Tuffour, Joseph Appiah Kubi, Michael Anim and Bismarck Donkor.

Others are John Bosie, Akwasi Baah, Charles Kwaning, Emmanuel Badu, Bismarck Abanga and Kwadwo Anima.

Source: GNA

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