Defence lawyers in the trial of Gregory Afoko over the alleged murder of Adams Mahama, Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), are accusing the prosecution of withholding evidence from them.
According to Ekow Ampah Korsah, lead counsel for the accused, the position by the state prosecutors was at variance with Article 19(2) of the 1992 Constitution and Sections 181/182 of Act 30 of the Criminal Code of 1960.
In the view of the lawyer for the 52-year-old farmer, the said Act is in conflict with 19(2) of the Constitution in relation to fair trial.
Mr Korsah stated that the Accra Central District Magistrate Court, presided over by Worlanyo Kotoku, ought to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for determination.
He insisted that the prosecution had hidden vital evidence it had gathered in the course of its investigations from the defence team as well as the court.
The lawyer believed the defece team had been ambushed in respect of the posturing of the prosecution, adding that it was worth reminding the court that in all criminal proceedings the state has a head start.
Counsel wondered whether the state is at liberty to form its legal theory and withhold evidence which could be exculpatory.
But Matthew Amponsah, a Chief State Attorney who led a five-member team, including Superintendent Francis Baah to the court, disagreed, insisting that the evidence could not be made available to the defence team.
He argued that the case was at the committal stage and not the main trial and that the request for the evidence was untenable.
Mr Amponsah said by practice and procedure exhibits in a bill of indictment are not supposed to be given to the accused person or his lawyers anytime at the preliminary hearing.
He explained that rather the evidence is handed over to the court for custody and onward transfer to the high court where the case would be heard.
The Chief State Attorney said the committal proceedings were to establish a prima facie case against the accused person.
Sitting continues on Feb. 23.
Afoko is standing trial for intentionally and unlawfully causing the death of Adams on May 20, 2015 at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region after an acid bath.
According to the Attorney General (AG), Afoko must be charged for conspiracy to murder and murder while one Issah Musah, a member of the NPP who was alleged to have on May 19, 2015 solicited and procured the deadly acid which he gave to other two suspects who in turn poured it on Adams, must be freed.
Asabke Alangdi, the third accused, has been on the run together with his wife, leaving behind their one-and-a-half-year-old baby.
According to the police charge sheet, Gregory after his arrest, was asked to lead the police to the house of his accomplice – Asabke Alangdi – but “he rather took them to the father’s house. Police later located the house of the second suspect but the suspect had got wind of their presence and absconded with his wife leaving behind their baby.
“A gallon, which contains some of the substance and a plastic cup, were retrieved at the scene for forensic examination.”
The Police had revealed that a “post mortem examination was conducted on the body of the deceased and the pathologist gave the cause of the death as shock lungs and extensive acid burns.”
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson