Major Mahama Trial: Evidential Amateur Video Played In Open Court

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An Accra High Court, hearing the trial of the 14 alleged murders of the late Major Maxwell Mahama, has shown the evidential videos of how the late Major was murdered, in open court.

The atmosphere in the courtroom was a sober one, where the amateur videos and photo album were shown in parts in the presence of the accused persons and their counsels, State Prosecutors, the Jurors, media persons and the public.

The first video played for five minutes, 20 seconds, while the second video was a minute and six seconds, with one having a slow-motion effect applied to it.

The video commenced with some residents in the area pursuing the late Major, with shouts, “Thief, thief.”

The mob later caught up with him, and hit him with clubs and cement blocks until the late Major Mahama fell to the ground and died.

After playing the video, the prosecution introduced a photo album, which was an extract from the video, to be tendered as evidence but opposed by the defence counsels.

Before then, Mrs Evelyn Keelson, a Chief State Attorney, informed the Court that the witness, Chief Inspector Samuel Agyakwa, who was the 14th Prosecution Witness, currently in the witness box, would explain what happened in the video to the court and also identify the accused persons, but that was also objected.

Mr Theophilus Donkor, a Defence Counsel, for the third and the 14th accused persons, prayed the court that expressions in the video in the Twi Language be transcribed to form part of the records, since the medium used in the Court process was mainly English.

He added that, the jurors indicated they only understood English and nothing else.

The Court, presided over by Madam Mariama Owusu, a Supreme Court Judge, sitting as an additional High Court judge, said the Court interpreter was in court to assist in the processes.

Mr George Bernard Shaw, another defence counsel for first, second, fourth, eighth, tenth and the 12th accused persons raised an objection to issues in the video, saying the evidence was already before the Court and opposed the investigators’ evidence as being “hear-say.”

He said it was not direct evidence from the witness, so in the interest of fair trial, the witness should not be allowed to do excessive commentary when the video had been shown already in court.

Mr Shaw said that would mean, the Officer was coaching the members of the jurors and he would be expressing his opinion on an incident that he was not present at or was an eyewitness.

Madam Owusu said it was true the witness tendered the evidence and if he had any more explanations to make, that was the time for him to give that information.

Chief Inspector Agyakwa was later given the opportunity to speak to the video, which he did by identifying the accused persons and their various roles in the process that led to the death of the late Major.

He identified 13 of the 14 accused persons in the video.

The case was adjourned to April 19, 2021.

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 Burma Camp.

The late Major was on duty at Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region, 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 persons are: William Baah, the Assembly member of Denkyira Obuasi, Bernard Asamoah alias Daddy, Kofi Nyame a.k.a Abortion, Akwasi Boah, Kwame Tuffour, Joseph Appiah Kubi, Michael Anim and Bismarck Donkor.

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