Judge Pushes For Speedy Proceedings In Afoko Trial
Justice Ladzagla. L. Mensah, the trial judge in the case involving Gregory Afoko who has been accused of murdering the former Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has said that the court cannot afford to lose a day in the trial.
He said, 'This court would not afford to lose a day in this trial considering the fact that it wants the case to end by June'.
This was on Tuesday after the Prosecution had told the court that, the next witness (Awafo Akelesiya) was in court, but only speaks Frafra and that they have formally written to the Courts Registrar for an interpreter.
Mr Mathew Amponsah told the court that they informed the Registrar of the court to provide an interpreter, but they have been informed that there was no Frafra interpreter available.
Counsel for Mr Afoko, Mr Osafo Boabeng, told the court that from the submission of the Prosecution, it appears there is no Frafra interpreter in the Judicial Service and this is quite disheartening.
He said this problem was one of the very reasons the accused person should be granted bail.
The Presiding Judge said the problem of interpretation, is that it sometimes drags the case, and expressed the hope that this was going to be the only language problem in the case and adjourned the trial to February 8.
At the previous sitting, the Defence Counsel ended cross-examination of the fifth prosecution witness, so the Prosecution was to present its next witness today.
The Prosecution intends to call ten other witnesses, in addition to Hajia Adams, Madam Issaka, Quinn, Taufic and Dominic.
Afoko, a farmer, was alleged to have killed Mr Mahama on May 20, 2015 is being held on the charges of conspiracy to commit crime to wit murder and murder.
He has pleaded not guilty before the Court, which is also composed of a seven-member jury.
It was alleged that Afoko carried out the act with one Alandgi Asabke, who is on the run.
A third accomplice, Musa Issa, was granted bail after the Attorney-General opined that there was not enough evidence to prosecute him.
The GNA files indicates that on February 23, 2016, an Accra District Court committed Afoko to stand trial at the High Court to answer to the charges against him.
The State at the committal proceedings tendered more than 17 exhibits in respect of the trial.
The exhibits include Afoko's caution and charge statements as well as a post-mortem report on the deceased conducted by Dr Lawrence Edusei; a medical report on the deceased's wife, who also sustained injuries in her bid to assist the deceased when the incident occurred.
Other exhibits are a gallon containing the alleged residue of acid found at the crime scene, a cup believed to have been used by the assailants in pouring the acid on the deceased, the deceased's pair of shoes and attire and a piece of carpet from the deceased's car.
The rest are various reports from the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), a pair of blue-black tracksuit belonging to Afoko and photographs of the crime scene.
The Prosecution is being led by Mr Amponsah, Chief State Attorney, who told the court that Mr Adams was a contractor and lives at the Bolgatanga SSNIT Flats in the Upper East Region and was also the NPP Regional Chairman.
According to Mr Amponsah, Afoko also lived in Bolgatanga and was the younger brother of Mr Paul Afoko, a former National Chairman of the NPP.
The State said the accused was also a party activist, and was close to Mr Adams.
On May 20, 2015, Mr Adams left his house to his construction site in his pick-up truck with registration number NR 761-14.
The Chief State Attorney said he returned to the house in the night and at the entrance of his house, two men signalled him to roll down the window of his car.
He obliged, however, the two men poured acid on him and fled on a motorbike.
Mr Amponsah said Mr Mahama shouted for help and his wife, Hajia Zenabu Adams went to his aid.
He said Mrs. Adams also sustained burns on her chest and breast in her bid to assist the victim.
According to Mr Amponsah, Adams told his wife that it was Gregory and Asabke, who poured the acid on him.
He also mentioned the two accused persons, in the presence of neighbours, as the people who poured the acid on him.
The Chief State Attorney said Mr Adams was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit of the Bolgatanga Hospital where he passed on.
Afoko was picked up at about 0200 hours in his house and he led the Police to Asabke's house. Asake was, however, not available.
A post mortem conducted on the deceased by Dr Edusei indicated that Mr Adams died of extensive acid burns.