The substantive trial of the case in which two boys are standing trial for allegedly killing a 10-year-old Ishmael Mensah Abdallah at Lamptey, a suburb of Kasoa has been put on hold for a mini-trial.
This was after lawyer Martin Kpebu, counsel for the 18-year-old young offender objected to the tendering of an investigation cautioned statement obtained from his client.
A 15-year-old juvenile and an 18-year-old young offender (both names withheld) have been charged for conspiracy and murder and are standing trial.
In court on Monday, June 19, 2023, Detective Chief Inspector Japhet Agyemang, an investigator stationed at the Kasoa Divisional Headquarters of the Ghana Police Service was in court to testify as the Fifth Prosecution Witness.
Detective Agyemang had given a chronological accounts of what his team’s investigations unraveled and was also tendering in lot evidence exhibits including photographs taken of the crime scene and cautioned statements obtained from the accused persons.
But, his tendering of the investigation cautioned statement obtained from the 18-year-old 2nd Accused was met with an objection from his lawyer Martin Kpebu.
According the Counsel, his client (2nd Accused) objects to the tendering of the statement on grounds that, he did not give that statement voluntarily and it cannot be admitted.
Nana Ama Adomah Osei, a Senior State Attorney representing the prosecution while responding to the objection, expressed surprise at counsel’s request.
“I’m supervised that counsel is objecting to the tendering of this statement,” stated, Adding that, “this statement is not a confession statement so I do not know for what basis counsel is stating that the statement was not giving voluntarily,” the State Prosecutor argued.
But, Lawyer Kpebu in a rebuttal pointed to Section 120 of the Evidence Act to justify his objection.
Lawyers of the the 15-year-old juvenile led by Samuel Atuah, did not object to their client’s cautioned statement.
The Criminal Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei after listening to the parties suspended the substantive and ordered for a mini trial to be conducted to ascertain the truth or otherwise of the allegations raised.
“Counsel for the 2nd Accused person raised objection to the cautioned statement (obtained from his client) on April 4,2021 on the basis that the same was taking involuntary,” the court stated.
“This being so, the main trial is suspended and court will take evidence in the mini trial to ascertain the circumstances this statement was alleged to have been taken,” Justice Osei ruled.
EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent Murtala Inusah, reports that the jury has been excused from the mini trial set to commence on Tuesday, June 20.
Not guilty plea
While the 15-year-old accused had confessed to their involvement in the murder from the District Court, the 18-year-old accused has, however, denied his involvement.
However, taking their pleas on charges of conspiracy and murder before the trial court, the 15-year-old accused pleaded guilty to the charge or conspiracy but pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder.
The 18-year-old accused on the other hand pleaded not guilty to both charges.
Justice Osei Marfo’s court, however, entered a plea of not guilty for the 15-year-old accused because the offence was conspiracy to murder and as a result, had to be tried by the jury.
The charges were read to them in their preferred local languages.
The jury is made up of seven ordinary, but educated persons, who, subject to the directions of the judge, will decide the guilt or innocence of the accused in a case tried upon indictment.
After the seven-member jury had been empanelled, they were sworn in and they chose one of their own as a leader (foreman).
They are expected to arrive at a unanimous verdict which is binding on the court.