Thursday, October 28, 2010
No Witness at Ya Na Trial
Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday October 28, 2010
For the second time running, the prosecution has failed to bring witnesses to testify in the case in which 15 persons have been charged for the murder of Ya Na Yakubu Andani II, overlord of Dagbon during the intra-ethnic conflict between the Abudu and Andani Royal Gates at Yendi in March 2002.
On Monday, October 25, 2010, Mr. Anthony Rexford Wiredu, a Principal State Attorney asked the court, presided over by Justice EK Ayebi of the Court of Appeal to adjourn proceedings because the next prosecution witness could not be brought to the court by the police.
He said that the investigators were in the Northern Region to get the witnesses to testify and the court granted the request by adjourning the case.
When the case was called yesterday, Gertrude Aikins, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) told the court that the police could still not get a witness to testify and asked for another adjournment.
Reacting to the turn of events, Atta Akyea, lead counsel for the accused persons, said the witnesses enjoyed themselves at a hotel at the expense of the taxpayer when the police brought them to Accra to write their statements but when they are needed to testify they are nowhere to be found.
He mentioned that Nantongma Alhassan Andani and Grundo Wumbei, whose names appeared on the bill of indictment as some of the witnesses were hosted in the hotel but were not in court to testify.
He said he would not fault state prosecutors for their inability to bring the witnesses saying “this is a serious matter. We will plead with the witnesses in the name of God to come and testify or forever hold their peace.”
Mr. Atta Akyea told the court that should the prosecution fail to bring the next witness, the defense team would apply to the court to ask the prosecution to close its case, saying “the accused persons liberties are at stake.”
Justice Ayebi then said “at the request of the prosecution this case stands adjourned until Tuesday, November 2, 2010”.
On the Bill of Indictment, the Attorney General’s Department has indicated that it intends to bring 14 witnesses to testify in the trial and already 12 witnesses, including two police investigators and the pathologist who conducted autopsy on the body of the Ya Na have appeared in court to testify.
The prosecution at a point substituted PW3 for PW6, but defense counsel, Phillip Addison complained to the court that the prosecution had not been furnishing them with statements of their clients on time; a development which according to him could affect speedy trial.
All the 15 accused persons, except Zakaria Yakubu aka Zakaria Forest, the seventh suspect who is currently at large, were in court.
They have all pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and with Forest (A7) facing an additional charge of murder.
They are currently on remand in police custody except Iddrisu Iddi aka Mbadugu due to old age.
Those on trial are Iddrisu Iddi aka Mbadugu, Alhaji Baba Abdulai Iddrisu aka Zohe, Kwame Alhassan aka Achiri, Mohamadu Abdulai aka Samasama, Sayibu Mohammed, Alhassan Braimah and Alhaji Mohammed Habib Tijani, 45, former DCE of Yendi as second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth accused persons respectively.
The rest are Baba Ibrahim aka Baba Zey, Alhassan Mohammed aka Mohammed Cheampon, Mohammed Mustapha, Shani Imoro, Yakubu Yusif aka Leftee and Hammed Abukari Yussif and Abdul Razak Yussif aka Nyaa as 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th accused persons respectively.
Since the commencement of the trial, scores of police officers with riot control equipment including weapons have been patrolling the court premises to deter supporters of both Abudu and Andani Gates from physically settling scores.