Johnson Kombian, a farmer who is being held for killing two policemen in Nakpanduri in the Northern Region, on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit crime to wit murder and two counts of murder.
At the Fast Track High Court Kombian, who is also a businessman, said he was nowhere near where the incident took place as he and his wife had sought refuge inTogo following a shooting incident near Nakpanduri.
Kombian and his accomplices, who are on the run, were alleged to have ambushed three policemen on October 17, 2010 and killed two of them, Constable Prince Agyare and Constable Owusu Frimpong.
The third policeman, Corporal Osei Bonsu, who sustained gunshot wounds, survived the attack. A seven-member jury was empanelled to adjudicate the matter. The trial judge, Mr Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh, appealed to the jury to do away with sentiments and avoid discussing the issue in public.
He said the jury were to ignore publicity given to the case in the media pointing out to them that they must also live up to their responsibilities and that they could be sanctioned if they did not live up to expectation.
Defence counsel, Mr George Asamaning, said his client must be presumed innocent until he is proven guilty by the court. According to Mr Asamaning his client was mortal and that it was not true that he vanishes. Defence counsel urged the jury to avert their minds on the case as Kombian has been condemned by the press and had also been branded as a ‘’notorious criminal.’’
Prosecuting Mrs Mariana Appiah-Opare, a Principal State Attorney, said eight witnesses would be called to make their case out.
Mrs Appiah-Opare said Kombian resides at Nakpanduri in the Northern Region while Corporal Osei Bonsu is the complainant.
On October 17, 2010, Corporal Bonsu and the two deceased were detailed to the Nakpanduri duty post, an area noted for robbery.
On October 17, 2010, the accused person and his accomplices received information that a number of policemen had been detailed to perform duties at the Nakpanduri Scarp of the Bunkprugu/Yunyoo District of the Northern Region.
Suspecting that the policemen had been assigned to pick him up, Kombian and his friends, who were also labeled as notorious robbers by the prosecution, ambushed and attacked the three policemen.
They allegedly shot the deceased policemen, who were riding a motorbike. The accused person and his group continued to fire sporadically into the valley, with the hope of killing the policemen, who also responded with occasional gun fire.
Agyare made a distress call, while firing back at Kombian and his gang from his hide out.
After some minutes of firing, Kombian and his gang stopped, and on realizing that the gunshots had ended, Agyare and his colleagues mistakenly thought their attackers had left. They, therefore, came out of their hideout and were subjected to more gun fire.
Help finally came for Agyare and his colleagues but Kombian and his accomplices bolted. The wounded policemen were conveyed to the Nalerigu Baptist Hospital but Agyare was later pronounced dead. Frimpong died later, while Bonsu was transferred to the Police Hospital in Accra, where he was treated and discharged.
Kombian escaped to Togo after the incident but he was later picked up by the Togolese authorities and handed over to the Ghanaian authorities. The accused person was convicted by the Circuit Court, presided over by Mr. E. Kyei-Baffour, and sentenced to serve five years imprisonment for escaping from lawful custody.
The accused person, who is currently serving an11-year jail term, was subsequently put before the District Court, which committed him for trial at the High court.
The case has been adjourned to March 31.