A-G orders retrial of murder suspect …and quashes 80-year jail sentence
4/25/2012 2:43:05 PM -
By: Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi
Prince Adu Boakye
A Kumasi Circuit Court yesterday commenced the retrial of Prince Adu Boakye, 27, a trader who allegedly murdered a 40-year-old businessman, Atta Obiri Yaw, in cold blood, in a robbery case in August 2009.
The retrial of the case follows a directive by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mrs. Gertrude G. Aikins, at the instance of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, thus setting aside the judgment of a Circuit Court One, presided by Mr. Justice Emmanuel Amo-Yartey, on March 15, 2010.
The A-G's directive, dated of September 11, 2011, to the Director of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, followed a petition for redress in the case in which Adu Boakye, the accused, was found guilty of the charge of murder and robbery, and consequently, sentenced to 80 years imprisonment in hard labour.
Mrs. Aikins had explained the rationale behind the retrial in the age old principle that 'it is better to let 99 guilty people escape punishment, than to incarcerate one innocent individual,' stressing that the case is 'what we seem to have on our hands now.'
Prosecuting the case, Ms. Akosua Dansua of the Attorney-General's Department told the trial Circuit Court Four, presided over by Mr. Justice Emmanuel Lodo, that the accused, then 24, was a trader at the Central Market, while the victim of the robbery case, Atta Obiri Yaw, now deceased, was a black market money dealer also at the Central Market.
The State Attorney said on August 3, 2009, a complainant in the case, Eric Apraku Gyamfi, who deals in mobile phones, gave a cheque for GH¢150,000 to Atta to cash at the bank, in exchange for the equivalent in dollars.
According to the State Attorney, Atta was able to give $35,000 to Apraku after the transaction, leaving a balance of $65,000, but Apraku travelled to Dubai and instructed Atta to give the balance to his father.
The prosecutor said Atta contacted Boakye, who was his friend, to assist him change GH¢96,200 into dollars, and Boakye readily accepted.
He said Boakye then directed Atta to meet him at the Bibiani Logging and Lumber Company (BLLC) at Kaase, a Kumasi suburb, to enable him (the convict) secure the needed dollars from a friend called George Wereko Brobbey.
He said Atta, accompanied by another friend, Kwasi Adjei, went to the BLLC with the GH¢96,200, where he waited for Boakye at the reception. Boakye later got there in the company of a friend, Arnold Osei Darbo, in a VW Golf saloon car with registration number AS5188 A.
The prosecutor said when they arrived, Boakye allegedly asked Atta to wait for him, as he entered Wereko Brobbey's office.
Ms. Dansua said Boakye returned with a cheque, and asked Atta to accompany him to the bank to withdraw the money, because he had secured the dollar cheque from Wereko Brobbey.
He said at the bank, Boakye allegedly told Atta that the bank manager had asked for some time to enable him to arrange for the money from another branch of the bank.
Consequently, Boakye drove to Flames Lodge for them to wait for the bank manager's call, and at about 3:30 p.m., Boakye picked another friend, and together with Atta, left for the bank, but whilst on the way, Boakye stopped with the excuse that he was picking a parcel in the car booth for a friend.
According to the prosecution, Boakye, who had then loaded a pump action gun in the booth, picked it, aimed, and fired at Atta from behind, killing him instantly in the car.
The prosecutor said the body was dumped at Apre, a community near the St. Hubert Catholic Seminary, whilst the culprits bolted with the GH¢96,200.
He said on August 4, 2009, the convict was arrested, and during investigations, he led the police to Flames Hotel, where he had abandoned the VW Golf saloon car.
Ms. Dansua said when the police inspected the car, they found GH¢79,000, a pair of shoes belonging to the deceased, as well as seven live cartridges and the pump action gun.
He said the convict admitted the offence during investigations, and later pleaded guilty to the offence.
Justice Lodo has remanded the accused in prison custody, pending further hearing of the case on May 18, 2012.