General News of Wednesday, 17 July 2019
Gregory Afoko has pleaded not guilty to the charges of conspiracy to commit murder and murder.
Asabke Alangdi, a butcher has also been handed same charges over the death of the governing New Patriotic Party’s Upper East region chairman, Adams Mahama in 2015.
The Court, presided over by Justice Merley Woode has also sworn in a seven-member jury to hear the case.
But the selection of the seven-member jury was not without controversy as lawyers for Afoko raised two main objections during the process.
Stephen Sowah Charway who is holding Osafo Buabeng’s brief for Gregory Afoko, first asked for time to investigate the persons placed in the pool of jurors.
He argued that his client had no idea who these persons were and cannot exercise his right to object to their inclusion.
This was objected to by Chief State Attorney, Marina Appiah Opare who is leading the prosecution team.
She said the request was practically impossible adding that Ghana’s laws do not provide for time to be allowed accused persons to do background checks.
Justice Woode who is hearing the case turned down the request for time saying Act 30 does not provide for that.
Afoko then proceeded to exercise his right to object to jurors three times without reason. He exercised this twice with Asabke Alangdi also exercising same once.
Other Jurors nominated were, however, accepted bringing the number to 7.
Just before they were sworn in, Afoko’s lawyer made another application for time to do background checks once again.
Justice Woode turned down this request on the same basis as the previous following opposition from the state’s legal team.
Facts of case
Chief State Attorney, Marina Appiah Opare, who read the facts of the case said the state will demonstrate in the course of the trial that the two acted with the aim of killing Adams Mahama.
The state, she said, intends to call 19 witnesses in the course of the trial.
She recounted that the former NPP Chairman, Paul Afoko (brother of Gregory) then General Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong in 2015 attended a meeting in the Upper East region.
The aim, she said, was how to work against the then flagbearer of the party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The said meeting, the prosecution added, was scuttled by some men organised by the late Adams Mahama.
Unhappy about this, the two, according to the prosecutor, attacked Mr. Adams days after when he was heading home.
The State concluded the facts by pointing out that Mr. Mahama who was rushed to the hospital, named the two as the persons who poured acid on him in the presence of three witnesses.
Mr. Afoko’s Lawyers opted not to make an opening statement.
Order to BNI
Lawyer for the second accused person Asabke Alangdi, Andrew Vortia, however, asked that the court orders the BNI to allow him time to meet his client as the 15 minutes they have been offering him is insufficient.
This was granted by Justice Woode.
The case has been adjourned to July 26 for case management.