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26.06.2005 Crime & Punishment

Writ seeking arrest of Chris Asher for murder filed


Accra, 26, - A writ has been filed praying the High Court for an order of Mandamus, directed at the Inspector-General of Police, Director of Prisons and Attorney-General, to effect the arrest and prosecution of Mr Chris Asher, a lawyer for the alleged murder of one Ofori Atta on September 14, 1982 at Akim Oda.

The writ was filed on Thursday, June 23, by the Greater Accra Regional branch of Legal Aid Committee, on behalf of Maltida Ofori, daughter of the deceased and is slated for hearing on July seven 2005. According to the writ, after Asher had short and killed Ofori who was then investigating an alleged insurance claim fraud committed by Asher, he threw the pistol into a cease pit.

"Following intensive investigation and interrogation, the Police retrieved the pistol, arrested Asher, charged him with murder and remanded him in prison custody".

The writ claims that while in custody awaiting trial, Asher managed to escape from prison custody, to which the trial magistrate had ordered him to be held, pending the commencement of his trial, but Asher succeeded in fleeing the country.

"The police has a statutory duty to effect the immediate arrest of Chris Asher, a fugitive and suspected murderer, since there is no limit for prosecution of murder, while the Attorney-Generals' Department also has a statutory duty to continue with the prosecution of the said Chris Asher," the writ pointed out.

In the writ, Matilda claims the death of her father not only caused her great pain but also imposed economic hardship on her and appealed to the relevant authorities to ensure that Chris Asher is brought to justice.

To authenticate the claims in the writ, His Worship Mr Emmanuel Ashley, who was the trial magistrate, has sworn an affidavit to the High Court attesting to the fact that Chris Asher was arraigned before him in 1982 on a charge of murder, upon which he ordered that he be placed in prison custody, and was subsequently sent to the Nsawam Prison. On the day that Asher should have appeared in court, he never showed up. Later, information filtered that Chris Asher had escaped from prison custody and had fled the country, Magistrate Ashley stressed in his Affidavit.

Chris Asher returned to Ghana to appear before the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) during the early period of 2004, but all efforts by Matilda Ofori to persuade the relevant authorities to arrest and prosecute Asher proved futile.