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#JusticeForRuthAmankwah: Judge warns AG’s Department Over Delay Tactics

#JusticeForRuthAmankwah Judge warns AG’s Department Over Delay Tactics

Marietta Brew Appiah Opong, AG and Minister for Justice

AN ACCRA Court Magistrate, His Worship Mr. Ebenezer Kweku Ansah has warned the Attorney General’s (AG) Department that he will be forced to discharge a murder suspect who has spent over three years in custody without trial.

His Worship, Kwaku Ansah who was unhappy with the delay of the AG’s Department threatened that the court will not countenance the lackadaisical attitude of the AG’s Department in committing the accused person for trial.

The magistrate made this known in court yesterday when a 22-year-old man who confessed to the court that he killed a seven-year-old girl at Ashaiman, near Tema, after which he had sex with the corpse, appeared again in court.

Mr. Tutu Mensah, a Principal State Attorney told the court that, they have been instructed to take a serious look at the case. According to him, the delay in committing the accused person was due to the fact that even though the case docket was forwarded to the AG’s Department for advise, it could not be traced.

He told the court that, they have requested for a duplicate copy from the police and assured that within two weeks they will commit the accused person for summary trial.

The Principal State Attorney prayed the court to not discharge the accused person because the AG’s Department is under-staffed and that they have only 150 staff across the country.

The Magistrate remarked that, “we have allowed a certain man known as the system to dictate to us.” The court granted the two weeks request by which time the committal process would be expected to be completed.

I killed her

The accused person, Lucas Agboyie, alias ‘Sympathy’ at the last adjourned date told the court that he strangled his victim after she had refused his advances even though the deceased begged him not to have sex with her.

According to him, on the day of the incident, he had smoked marijuana, right after which he saw the girl passing by his house.

“It was a Sunday morning and after taking ‘ganja’, I saw the girl passing. I called her and sent her to go and bring me my towel that had been hanged behind my house. On her return, I told her that I wanted to sleep with her but she refused. “I held her hand and she began struggling with me. She begged and told me to let her go and started screaming. So I strangled her. I then took her to my room and slept with the body. Afterwards, I took the GH¢ 20.00 she had in her possession and used it to buy ‘ganja’,” he said.

Shock, disbelief and tears

The victim’s mother, who was in court, could not hold back her tears as Agboyie made the confession. She had to be consoled by her family members who had accompanied her to the court. As the confession was unfolding, others could be seen shaking their heads and shedding tears.

Charge

Agboyie has been charged with murder and is currently going through committal proceedings at the magistrate court, a prelude to the actual trial at the High Court.

Background

According to the prosecutor, the incident took place on April 19, 2015; Agboyie was arraigned on April 23, 2015, while the docket was sent to the A-G’s Department for advice in June 2015. “I don’t know why the case is still delaying.”

The accused person’s story has been consistent since the first day he was brought to court. “These are committal proceedings and not the actual trial,” he said.

The prosecutor in the case was absent and so the magistrate tasked the investigator to follow up at the A-G’s Department to help expedite the release of the docket for the continuation of the committal proceedings.

A lawyer in the courtroom who was touched by the victim’s mother’s wailing volunteered to follow up to the A-G’s Department. The case has been adjourned to October 4, 2016. Facts of the case, as presented by the prosecution, were that on April 19, 2015, the seven-year-old girl was sent by her mother with a GH¢ 20.00 note to buy bread.

After waiting for a long time without their daughter returning home, her parents became alarmed and sought the help of neighbours to search for her. “Later, an informant alerted the search party that he had seen Agboyie pulling the girl into his metal container. When the search party went to the metal container, Agboyie was nowhere to be found.

“To their utmost surprise, they found the naked body of the girl lying supine on an old student’ mattress, with blood oozing from her mouth and nostrils,” the prosecutor said. He added that Agboyie was later apprehended and “he confessed to killing the girl, after which he had sex with her.”

Alleged accomplice

The prosecutor said, the search party believed that the girl had been killed for ritual purposes and demanded that Agboyie mention the name of the one who had hired him to commit the crime.

“He insisted that he had killed the girl on his own volition. Dissatisfied, the residents started beating him and threatened to hand him over to an angry mob to lynch him,’’ the prosecutor said.

He said Agboyie thereafter mentioned a man named Baba Ali as the one who had sent him to commit the act, after which he was handed over to the police.

“When the police confronted him on the identity of his accomplice, Agboyie retracted his earlier statement and said he had acted alone. He said he had mentioned the name because of the beatings he received from the crowd and fear for his life,” the prosecutor said.

By: Muntalla Inusah

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