High Court orders ‘absentee juror’ in Kasoa teens case to appear or face arrest
An Accra High Court hearing the murder case of the Kasoa Teenagers has asked an ‘absentee juror’ to appear in court or face arrest.
The court gave the order after it had been informed that the juror, a staff of the Department of Social Welfare, had abandoned the trial and had also informed the court of his intent.
But the trial Judge, Mrs Justice Lydia Osei Marfo said the court had no such letter from him and asked him to appear before it on March 13, 2023, or face a warrant for arrest.
“Let him (juror) come or I will issue a bench warrant for his arrest, he cannot take the court for granted or hold the court to ransom. This is a constitutional duty,” the judge said.
The court had chosen today, Thursday, to start the trial with the State calling its first prosecution witness before the seven-member jury.
The absence of the juror meant the court would have to empanel a new set of jury and start the processes all over.
When the case was called, the foreman of the jury informed it that they were six in number instead of seven.
According to the foreman, a juror had informed him that he had travelled and that he would not take part in the trial.
The foreman said although the juror had informed him on WhatsApp voice mail, the said juror had not been able to furnish him with a copy of the letter he said he had written to the court.
The trial judge said she was not going to start the trial from scratch, adding the juror “ought to come back unless he is dead”.
“By Court, as of December 19, 2022, just before I proceeded on my annual leave, this court and parties involved, including defence counsels, jurors, State lawyers agreed on firm dates from March 7 to April 20, 2023, to commence trial so, he must come back.”
The court said “there is no such letter from him to that effect. He should know that he is duty bound from the beginning to the end of the trial. He can’t afford to sit in his office and issue orders to the court.”
The two teenagers are facing charges of conspiracy and murder.
They are accused of killing Mensah Abdallah on April 3, 2021, for alleged ritual purposes.
The young offenders allegedly lured the deceased aged 11, into an uncompleted building and killed him with a club and cement block at Kasoa.