General News of Monday, 9 July 2018
The judge presiding over the trial of Gregory Afoko, the man charged with the murder of a former Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Alhaji Adams Mahama, has descended heavily on a pathologist for failing to appear before the court and testify.
The pathologist, Dr Lawrence Edusei, a prosecution witness in the trial, failed to show up in court last Friday, a situation that did not go down well with the presiding judge, Mr Justice Lawrence L. Mensah.
What further irked the judge was an announcement by the prosecutor, Mr Matthew Amponsah, a Chief State Attorney, that Dr Edusei had informed him that he needed two weeks to appear before the court because the autopsy report on Alhaji Mahama was not ready.
“I will not allow this to happen. We (judges) write 50 to 100 pages of judgements in less than two weeks. How long does he want to write the report?” Mr Justice Mensah asked the prosecutor.
According to the judge, he wants an expeditious trial and would, therefore, not allow the pathologist to indulge in delay tactics.
He, subsequently, disregarded the announcement by Mr Amponsah and adjourned the case to run on July 10, 11,12 and 13, 2018, with a firm instruction to the prosecutor to ensure that the pathologist appeared to testify.
Alhaji Mahama suffered severe bodily injury after a substance suspected to be acid was allegedly poured on him in front of his house in Bolgatanga around 11 p.m. on May 20, 2015. He later died from the injuries at the Bolgatanga General Hospital.
Afoko has denied any involvement in the murder and pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Another accused person, Asabke Alangi, is however,on the run.
Twelve prosecution witnesses, including the wife of Alhaji Mahama, Hajia Zainabu Adams, have already testified in the case.
Dr Edusei is the next prosecution witness expected to take the stand.
Autopsy report blues
This is not the first time the pathologist, who is currently on retirement, has had issues with regard to a trial.
Earlier this year, two separate district courts ordered him to release the autopsy reports on Mr J. B. Danquah-Adu, the legislator who was murdered in February 2015, and Major Maxwell Mahama, the military officer lynched in May 2017.
That was after the prosecution accused the medical officer of dragging his feet in releasing the report.
Dr Edusei, on the other hand, said he had not been paid for the numerous autopsies he had conducted on murder cases.