17.01.2013 General News

Issah Mobilla murder trial ends

By Daily Graphic
Issah Mobilla murder trial ends
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The Alhaji Issa Mobilla murder trial was closed yesterday when lawyers put their cases before the jury for consideration.

After the lawyers' addresses, the judge, Mr Justice Mohammed Habib Logoh, adjourned the matter to February 6, 2013 to sum up to the jury to enable it to arrive at its verdict.

In a murder trial, the jury needs to arrive at a unanimous verdict of guilty or not guilty.

The judge will sum up on the law and evidence regarding the charge and base his judgement on the verdict.

In his address, Mr Thaddeus Sory, counsel for Corporal Yaw Appiah, urged the jury not to allow themselves to be used as a vehicle to make the accused person a scapegoat.

He said the prosecution had failed to prove the ingredients of the charge of murder levelled against the accused person and that his client was being made a scapegoat

"The intention of the accused person was to get the late Mobilla to speak the truth and it was not true that he set out to kill him," counsel said in his closing address to the jury.

Corporal Appiah and Private Seth Goka are accused of murdering Mobilla, a former Northern Regional Chairman of the Convention People's Party (CPP), in December 2004.

Private Goka is, however, on the run and is being tried in absentia.

Earlier, the court had acquitted and discharged a third soldier, Private Eric Modzaka, on the charge of murder, after his counsel had made a submission of 'no case' which was upheld by the court.

Mr Sory told the jury that Cpl Appiah was on duty when Mobilla was brought to the guardroom and Appiah's adjutant had instructed him to beat the deceased until he spoke the truth.

Counsel said the accused person only obeyed his superior's instruction and never intended to kill, as alleged by the prosecution, and that killing did not arise at all, except that the unfortunate thing happened.

He said by the law, even if what the accused person did resulted in death, he acted under reasonable belief and grounds to obey and that what he did was not murder but manslaughter.

Counsel said if the Armed Forces thought that the accused person had committed any offence under its rules, Appiah would have been court-marshalled.

Mr Sory debunked the prosecution's claim that the accused persons were liars and said Appiah was the only person who spoke the truth about the matter and admitted that he, together with other soldiers, had beaten up Mobilla.

"The prosecution even said several other soldiers beat up Mobilla but why is it that it is only the accused person who is being held for beating him to death?" counsel asked.

He said the beating that the accused person meted out to Mobilla could not be isolated as resulting in Mobilla's death.

He, therefore, urged the jury to put themselves in the shoes of the accused and see if they would not have obeyed their superior's instruction.

A Chief State Attorney, Penelope Marmattah, urged the jury to return a verdict of guilty against the accused persons because they set out to kill Mobilla when they used neem tree sticks to beat him up.

According to her, the accused person could have refused to carry out the orders or instructions of their superior officer, since the order was illegal and contrary to the Armed Forces rules.

She said the evidence was clear that when the deceased was taken to the custody of the accused person, he was strong and healthy and even walked unassisted.

According to her, the statements of the accused persons also bolstered the point that when Mobilla was sent to the barracks, he was very strong and healthy because he had walked with the three policemen who had taken him there.

She said the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt, for which reason the jury should not hesitate to enter a verdict of guilty against the accused persons.

Mobilla was arrested by the police on December 9, 2004 for allegedly supplying the youth of Tamale with guns to foment trouble.

While in police custody, the police claimed they received information that Mobilla's followers and sympathisers were mobilising to free him.

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