Bar attendant appears in court for strangling woman, 38

A bar attendant alleged to have strangled a 38-year-old woman and setting her on fire at Alajo in Accra was yesterday remanded in custody by the Abeka District Court.

The accused, Godwin Tetteh, has been charged with murder for the alleged incident which is said to have happened in his room on April 25, 2017.

The prosecution claims Tetteh intentionally set his room on fire after the alleged incident to cover up his act.

Bail application

Tetteh is before the Abeka District Court for committal proceeding, a process which would enable the court to determine whether or not the charges and evidence against him warrant a trial at the High Court.

His appearance at the court attracted a crowd made up of mostly family members and sympathisers of the alleged victim.

The family and sympathisers were clad in red clothes and wore red arm and headbands to signify how sorrowful they were.

At the hearing, Tetteh’s  legal team made a passionate appeal to the court to grant him bail.

According to his lawyer, Mr James Owura-Mensah, the charge levelled against his client did not support the facts of the case as presented by the prosecution.

He described the facts as inaccurate, adding that his client was “deemed innocent until proven guilty.’’

“The accused person is a victim of circumstances and not in any way connected to the murder,’’ he said.

Counsel further urged the court to grant the accused bail because of  the Supreme Court judgement on May 5, 2016 that made all offences bailable, subject to the discretion of a competent court of jurisdiction.

He also stated that his client was gainfully employed with a fixed place of abode and had competent people to stand surety for him.

No jurisdiction

The court, presided over by Ms Victoria Akua Ghansah, however, refused to grant bail because of lack of jurisdiction.

District courts, the presiding magistrate said, were not trial court for murder cases and hence did not have the jurisdiction to grant bail in such cases.

“Since I don’t have jurisdiction, I cannot grant bail,’’ she said.

She, therefore, advised Tetteh’s legal team to apply for bail at a court of competent jurisdiction in murder cases.

The court then ordered Tetteh to be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case to June 29, 2017.

Room discussion

The prosecutor, Chief Inspector Hanson Armah, told the court that Tetteh and the woman resided in the same house at Alajo, a suburb Accra.

On April 25, 2017, Tetteh, he said, invited the lady to his room for a discussion. Tetteh narrated to her how he gave some items to his friend for safe keeping but the friend later told him that the items had been stolen by his (friend’s) girlfriend.

Tetteh, the prosecutor said, was, therefore, seeking advice from the lady on how to deal with his friend.

“The lady advised him to report the issue to some elders for advice and decided to leave the room,’’ he said.

According to Chief Inspector Armah, immediately the lady stood up, “Tetteh grabbed her from behind and held her neck until she became unconscious.’’

Fire

Chief Inspector Armah said when Tetteh realised that the lady was unconscious, he (Tetteh) set his room on fire “in order to cover his diabolic act.’’ Tetteh then rushed outside shouting for help.

Someone in the house, he said, heard Tetteh shouting, took a bucket of water and dashed into the room, where he heard the lady lying on a burning carpet crying for help.

“The lady sustained severe burns and was rushed to the Maamobi General Hospital for treatment. She was later transferred to the 37 Military Hospital where she died on May 9, 2017,’’ the prosecutor added.


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