Court tries two for murder of foreign Missionary
All is set for the trial of two persons who allegedly murdered Sidney Thomas Barnes, a British/American missionary, at Nsawam two years ago, at the High Court.
At an Accra District Magistrate's Court sitting on Wednesday, the state, however, asked for a week's adjournment for the accused persons and their lawyers to appear before it.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Charles Abandamlora, the initial prosecutor, told the court that all was set for the committal process to take place, but stated that the State Attorney who was to conduct the committal had asked for a week's adjournment.
The court obliged the prosecution's request, but adjourned the matter to Wednesday, March 21.
The accused persons are Kofi Seidu, a driver, and Reverend Goodwill Padmore, who worked with the deceased.
Sometime in June last year, the Attorney General's (AG) Department recommended that the accused persons should be held for the murder of the missionary at Nsawam in 2010.
It said they should be charged with conspiracy to committing crime, and Seidu, additionally, charged with murder.
However, Issaka Mohammed, a farm labourer who was arrested with the accused persons, should be discharged, because there was not enough evidence to link him with the death of the missionary.
The AG noted that there was enough evidence to sustain the charges of conspiracy and murder against Seidu and Padmore, and asked the police to take their statements and prepare a bill of indictment and summary of evidence.
Initially, three persons, Seidu, Padmore and Mohammed, were arrested in connection with the murder of Reverend Barnes and put before a District Magistrate's Court in Accra.
Their pleas were reserved.
The prosecution said the deceased, 75, arrived in the country in 1995.
Seidu was a farm manager for the deceased, and Padmore was the Principal of Prestige Secretarial and Business Academy in Koforidua, while Mohammed is a resident of Adoagyiri in Nsawam.
The deceased established a Christian Ministry, known as Cross Road Christian Missionary Incorporated in Koforidua.
In addition to the missionary work, the deceased had a farm at Akwamu, near Nsawam, which was being managed by Seidu, while his private Secretarial Institution was handled by Padmore.
On December 27, 2009, the deceased went to USA, and was to return to Ghana on March 18, 2010.
On March 17, Padmore gave Seidu some money to repair a vehicle belonging to the deceased and use it to bring him from the airport to Koforidua the following day.
On March 18, Seidu, after collecting GH¢50 for fuel, left early in the morning, saying he wanted to 'do some rounds' before picking the deceased in the evening.
At about 23:30 hours, Seidu called Padmore on phone, saying that the deceased had not arrived, and therefore, drove the vehicle to Nsawam Adoagyiri.
On March 19, a witness in the case detected that Seidu had sustained some injuries on both hands, and when quizzed, he told the witness that he and a friend, a foreigner, were involved in an accident at Koforidua.
Seidu added that the said foreigner was receiving treatment at the Saint Joseph's Hospital at Koforidua, and he (Seidu) went to a chemical shop for a tetanus injection, and bought some drugs.
The prosecution said Seidu presented a lap top to a witness in the case, and when it was switched on, the name of the deceased appeared on the screen.
A bag belonging to the deceased was found in the vehicle being driven by the accused, and following a report lodged with INTERPOL on the disappearance of the deceased, Seidu was arrested and handed over to the Homicide Unit of the Ghana Police Service for further investigations.
Seidu confessed to the crime, and mentioned Padmore and Mohammed as his accomplices.
On October 11, 2010, Seidu led a team of investigators from the Homicide Unit and pathologists from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to Akwamu Amanfo, near Nsawam Adoagyiri, where he identified the grave where the deceased was buried.
The corpse was exhumed and conveyed to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Mortuary, and on October 13, an autopsy was carried on the corpse, and the results revealed that the cause of death was multiple stab injuries, lacerations and haemorrhage. – GNA