The trial of 14 persons who have been accused of brutally murdering Major Maxwell Mahama – who was on detachment duties at Denkyira Obuasi (now New Obuasi) in the Central Region – will commence at an Accra High Court today.
The 14 were committed by an Accra Central District Court, which found that there was enough substantial evidence against them to stand trial for the charges proffered against them.
They were among 22 persons arraigned before the court on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
Eight of the suspects were, however, discharged because according to the Attorney General’s Office, there was not enough evidence linking them to the crime.
Before their committal for trial at the high court, a Chief State Attorney, Evelyn Keelson, told the district court that a bill of indictment on the suspects was filed on December 15, 2017, and that all the accused persons had been given copies.
She said the state would call 15 witnesses who had identified the suspects as the assailants of the late soldier.
Ms Keelson added that 13 of the suspects – except William Baah, assemblyman for the area – had been captured on videos during the gruesome murder.
She tendered in 53 exhibits which will be handed over to the high court for the trial.
Among the items tendered in as exhibits are forensic reports, post-mortem report on the deceased, video recordings, two single-barrel shot guns, a six-inch cement block and a partly burnt shirt.
The rest are one clog pistol, an iPhone, a metal bar, a stone, two pellets, one empty cartridge, seven rounds of ammunition and photograph of the crime scene.
Ms Evelyn Keelson said the prosecution had gathered enough evidence to put the 14 through trial, adding that a copy of the summary of evidence had been given to each of the accused persons.
When asked by the court – presided over by Ebenezer Kwaku Ansah – whether they had anything to say, all of them replied in the negative.
Their lawyer, George Bernard Shaw, told the court that the defence would be calling a couple of witnesses of their own, including the Diaso Police.
Major Maxwell Mahama was on a 20-kilometre walk when he was reportedly mistaken for a thief by some women from whom he stopped to buy snails.
The women, who thought he was an armed robber after spotting his official pistol, called the assemblyman (William Baah) to raise an alarm.
He then reportedly organised people in the town to lynch the soldier and later burnt parts of his body.