Defense rejects fresh application

…by prosecution team

By Ivy Benson

Chief Justice of Ghana, Mrs. Georgina Wood

The Defense team in the trial of the former District Chief Executive of Yendi, Alhaji Mohammed Habib Tijani and fourteen others, over the murder of the Over Lord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II in March 2002 at the Fast Track Court (FTC), says that prosecution’s attempt to adduce fresh evidence in the case fall foul of the law.

According to the defense team, an application filed by the prosecution, purporting to re-open the case before the court and adduce fresh evidence lacked the necessary ingredients, as required by law in making the request succeed.

The Defense, therefore, called on the court to dismiss the request made by the prosecution, since their evidence lacked credibility, relevance and substance.

Continuing his response to the application argued out by the prosecution, Mr. Phillip Addison, yesterday told the court, presided over by Justice Ayirebi, an Appeal Court judge, with additional responsibility as a High Court judge that the supporting affidavit put forward by the state is insufficient for the court to rely on in dealing with the issues before it.

Counsel noted that prosecution’s case does not meet the core components of availability, relevance and credibility in getting his clients convicted.

Other accused persons include Iddrisu Iddi, alias Mbadugu,  Alhaji Baba Abdulai Iddrisu, alias Zohe, Kwame Alhassan, alias Achiri, Mohammed Abdulai, alias Samasama, Sayibu Mohammed and Alhassan Braimah, Iddrisu Iddi.

The rest are Alhassan Mohammed, alias Mohammed Cheampon, Abukari Nabeli, alias Kunkakums or Kooms, Mohammed Mustapha, Yakubu Yusif, alias Leftee, Abdul Razak Yussif, alias Nyaa and Shani Imoro.

While all fifteen accused persons are facing charges of conspiracy in murdering the Overlord of Dabon, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, one of the accused persons, Zakaria Yakubu, who is currently at large, is facing an additional charge of murdering the Ya-Na.

The fourteen accused persons had pleaded not guilty to conspiring in the murder of the Ya-Na as they are standing trial before a-seven-member jury.

Expatiating on his submissions before the court, Mr. Addison noted that the evidence that prosecution is now seeking to adduce had been available to the state at all material times during the trial.

According to him, for the prosecution to now surface with new evidence after they had closed their case, breaks down their request currently before the court, adding that the alleged confessions of killing the late Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II made by Alhassan Braimah, would lead to embarrassment delay in the trial, since the accused person is not on trial for murder.

Counsel further submitted that Alhassan Braimah was never mentioned at the Wuako Commission, but was mentioned only once during the trial by a witness, who claimed to have seen him shooting towards the Ya-Na’s Palace.

Mr. Addison further told the court that the recorded confession of killing the Ya-Na, extracted from Alhassan Braimah, was done at a time when the accused person was not under investigation and, therefore, does not amount to a confession statement.

It was the view of counsel that the recording of the suspect does not provide enough grounds in getting his clients convicted of the crime leveled against them, adding that the new evidence that prosecution is seeking to adduce is of no relevance in the case.

Counsel indicated that the prosecution has failed to make full disclosure in their attempt to adduce further evidence in the case.

The defense further argued that the alleged confession statement from Alhassan Braimah in October, 2010, when he was in lawful custody was an abuse of the right of his client, submitting that the prosecution could have sought permission from the court if they needed any assistance.

Mr. Addison told the court that the evidence that the prosecution is attempting to bring before the court is not credible, as the attempt by one Anarfo to enquire what was happening in Dagbon in February, 2010, when the dispute was in March 2002, was certainly a set up to secretly record his client.

Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II was murdered in March 2002, together with about 30 of his traditional elders during a three-day siege on his Gbewaa Palace, in what appeared to be caused by hostilities between the rival Andani and Abudu gates to the chieftaincy dispute.

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