The lawyer representing 14 persons indicted for the murder of military officer, Major Maxwell Mahama, has given up on some of the accused persons at the eleventh hour, leaving them in limbo as trial is set to start on March 5, 2018.
Lawyer George Bernard Shaw, who has been representing all the 14 accused persons in the preliminary stage of the case since June 2017, yesterday announced his withdrawal for nine of them when the case came up at the high court for the first time after their committal.
Mr. Shaw informed the court that he had reached a decision to represent only five of the 14 accused persons, while another lawyer, Augustine Gyamfi, also announced himself as representing two others; leaving a total of seven without legal representation.
Mr. Shaw explained that his decision to represent only five of the accused stemmed from his observation that the others had conflicting stories accusing each other of the crime.
Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Mariama Owusu, who has been given additional responsibility as a high court judge to try the case, asked the seven accused persons without lawyers to find one.
The prosecution led by Chief State Attorney, Ms. Evelyn Keelson, informed the court they intend to open their case against the 14 accused persons on March 5.
In view of this a jury would be constituted to hear the murder case, noting the judge indicated it should not have less than seven people.
Major Mahama, a member of the 5th Infantry of the Ghana Armed Forces who was on official duty, was lynched at Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region on May 29, 2017 when some residents mistook him for an armed robber.
A part of his body was set ablaze. His body was retrieved filled with marks of assault including multiple deep cut wounds on the head, the police said.
His murder reignited calls for an end to instant mob justice, which was becoming rampant across the country and had led to the death of a number of people.
Maj. Mahama was given a state burial and government resolved to cater for his wife and two children with the establishment of Major Mahama Trust Fund, which is currently before Parliament.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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