Major Mahama: Lawyers discredit evidence of witness

Major Maxwell Mahama

Mr George Bernard Shaw, Defence counsel for William Baah on Wednesday described the evidence of the fifth Prosecution witness in the trial of the alleged murderers of the late Major Maxwell Mahama as untrue.

Mr Solomon Sackey, who spoke through an interpreter, told an Accra High Court that he did not know Mr Shaw but the Counsel said this was untrue.

The Defence counsel said he was the witness’s initial lawyer together with other accused persons during proceedings of their trial at the lower court.

On how the late Major Mahama was lynched, Mr Shaw asked the witness whether he saw a large crowd at the scene attacking the victim, to which the witness said in the positive, but defence Counsel asked him how he somehow managed to get closer.

The witness said “l managed to get closer to the thick crowd but in the process l was hit with a stick, so l left to pay attention to my injury.”

“In fact you managed to find your way into the crowd, because you wanted to teach the supposed armed robber a lesson,” the Counsel suggested, but the witness said he had the initial intention to teach the robber a lesson but at the time he got there and looking at how he was being beaten, he abandoned the idea.

He said “Upon getting to the scene, l realised it was pathetic, seeing the armed robber being beaten so l dropped my stick and decided to prevent them from beating him further”.

Mr Shaw further asked Mr Sackey what his motivation was that made him changed his mind after forcing his way into the crowd before his hand was injured.

Mr Sackey replied that he wanted to rescue the armed robber from the residents.

The Defence counsel pointed out to the witness that it was a lie, because he had forced himself into the crowd to lynch the victim, but the fifth prosecution witness said this was untrue and that his intention subsequently was to rescue him.

The defence then asked whether anyone among the residents at the scene acknowledged his “Good Samaritan” gesture, of which he replied that some of them saw him.

The witness told the court that he ran away from the town because he heard soldiers were storming there to avenge the death of the late Major.

Mr Shaw then asked why he would run when he had risked his life to save the victim, but the witness said he was informed that the soldiers would beat anyone on site hence his decision to flee.

Mr Shaw insisted that he run away because he knew very well what he did at the scene but the witness said “ l was not part but had to run.”

At this moment, the Counsel said “your answer does not make sense” but the witness said he ran away because when the incident happened almost everyone in the town tried to flee so did he.

Defence counsel asked him whether he knew one Nana Kojo and was related to him, he answered in the affirmative that he knew him but there were not related.

The Defence counsel then pointed out to him that the said Nana was his brother of which the witness admitted.

Mr Shaw indicated that the witness just a minute ago said he was not related to the said Nana and that he wanted to protect him from the consequences of what he did at the scene, but Mr Sackey said he did not even see the said Nana at the scene and could not tell what he did at the scene.

Counsel also said to the witness that he was present when the deceased became motionless and that the said Nana poured petrol on his body but the witness disagreed, saying “l was not there at the time.”

The Defence counsel said the witness, who spent eight months in custody, was anxious to know about his fate so jumped on the opportunity given by the State to serve as a witness to gain his freedom but Mr Sackey disagreed.

“In fact in your desire to please the prosecution, you implicated people,” the Counsel said but again the witness disagreed.

The Court presided over by Justice Mariama Owusu, then adjourned the matter to Monday, January 28 for further cross examination of the witness.

Fourteen persons are standing trial at an Accra High Court over the killing of Major Mahama, who was an Officer of the 5th Infantry Battalion, at the Burma Camp.

The late Major was on duty at Denkyira-Obuasi when on May 29, 2017 some residents allegedly mistook him for an armed robber and lynched him.

The mob had ignored his persistent plea that he was an officer of the Ghana Armed Forces.

The accused are William Baah, the Assemblyman of Denkyira Obuasi, Bernard Asamoah alias Daddy, Kofi Nyarko aka Abortion, Akwasi Boah, Kwame Tuffour, Joseph Appiah Kubi, Michael Anim and Bismarck Donkor.

Others are John Bosie, Akwasi Baah, Charles Kwaning, Emmanuel Badu, Bismarck Abanga and Kwadwo Anima.

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