The trial judge in the Ya-Na murder case yesterday expressed surprise at the prosecution's inability to produce transcripts, video and audio recordings at the Wuaku Commission which had been set up in 2002 to investigate the murder of the Overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II.
Mr Justice E. K. Ayebi said it was strange for the prosecution, which was supposed to be the custodian of such vital materials, to state in open court that those documents could not be traced.
Giving its ruling on an application filed by the defence team for the production of those documents, the court held that any party which could not produce documents could not rely on those documents for trial.
In effect, both the prosecution and the defence cannot allude to excerpts from any document which they would not be in a position to produce to the court upon request.
The court's decision stemmed from a response from a Chief State Attorney, Mr Rexford Wiredu, who told the court that his outfit had searched and combed for records on the Wuaku Commission's sittings from the relevant places, including the Attorney-General's library, but that had not been successful.
He said the only material he found was the bound book of the commission's executive summary on the sittings.
Obviously not enthused by the prosecution's submissions, lead counsel for the defendants, Mr Philip Addison, said it was unfortunate for the prosecution to make such submissions to a court of record.
He said the defence knew the existence of the documents as a matter of authority.
According to counsel, Mr Wiredu could have got in touch with former Attorneys-General and other officials who might have possible clues as to the whereabouts of the materials.
Later, the 10th prosecution witness, Detective Sergeant Augustus Nkrumah, in his evidence-in-chief, told the court that he knew the accused persons, as well as all other witnesses, except the pathologist who testified in the case.
According to him, he had been assigned by his superiors in February 2010 to investigate the Yendi conflict which claimed the life of the Ya-Na and a number of his elders.
He said he had laid hands on old dockets on the case and proceeded to Yendi, where he invited witnesses for their statements to be taken.
The observation he made included bullet holes on the front view of the Ya-Na's Palace, as well as the take-over of the palace by some
Led by Mr Wiredu, the investigator said he also observed that the Abudus had re-roofed the palace to perform the final funeral rites of their late King, Ya-Na Mahamadu, while he also visited the place where the Ya-Na was alleged to have been murdered.
Detective Sergeant Nkrumah tendered in evidence as exhibits statements he had taken from the accused persons and read them to the court, after lawyers for the accused had agreed to their admittance in evidence.
Those standing trial are Iddrisu Iddi, alias Mbadugu; Alhaji Baba Abdulai, alias Zohe; Kwame Alhassan, alias Achiri; Mohammed Abdulai, alias Samasama; Sayibu Mohammed; Alhassan Braima and Zakaria Yakubu, alias Zakaria Forest, who is currently on the run.
The rest are Mohammed Habib Tijani, the former District Chief Executive of Yendi; Baba Ibrahim, alias Baba Zey; Alhassan Mohammed, alias Mohammed Cheampon; Mohammed Mustapha; Shani Imoro; Yakubu Yusif, alias Leftee; Hammed Abukari Yussif and Abdul Razak Yussif, alias Nyaa Dagbani.
All the accused persons, except Zakaria Yakubu, have been charged with conspiracy to murder and have pleaded not guilty to the charge. Zakaria has been charged with murder.