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Major Mahama case: High Court dismisses “submission of no case”, orders accused to open defence

State prosecutors closed their case against the accused persons on 16 May 2022. Their lawyers subsequently filed a “submission of no case” application, essentially praying the court to dismiss the case of the state

The court has dismissed on Monday (4 July) a “submission of no case” application filed by lawyers of the 14 accused person standing trial for the murder of the late Major Maxwell Mahama.

State prosecutors closed their case against the accused persons on 16 May 2022. Their lawyers subsequently filed a “submission of no case” application, essentially praying the court to dismiss the case of the state because in their view, prosecution failed to establish a cause of action against their clients.

By court

The criminal high court presided over by Justice Mariama Owusu, a Supreme Court judge sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, noted in her ruling that after hearing the witnesses of the state, she is of the considered opinion that the prosecution has established a “prima facie” case against the accused persons which needs serious consideration, investigation and determination by the court.

“From the foregoing, the state has established a “prima facie” case of murder against the first accused person (A1)”.

“They have also established a “prima facie” case of conspiracy to commit murder against the second through to the 14th accused persons”.

“The submission of no case is overruled and the accused persons are called upon to open their defence” the Court ruled.

“Sitting is adjourned to 18 July 2022, for the first accused person to open his defence,” Justice Mariama Owusu further ruled.

Long break

The court has been trying the 14 accused persons over the last six years following the gruesome murder of Major Mahama. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the trial took nearly a one-and-a-half year break.

Between January and April 2021, the trial suffered another break because the trial judge was one of seven Supreme Court Justices who adjudicated the 2020 presidential election petition.

Major Mahama of the 5 Battalion of Infantry was lynched while he went jogging in the early hours of Monday 29 May 2017.

The mob made up of residents of Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region who stoned and burnt him later claimed that they mistook him for an armed robber because he carried a weapon.

Posthumous promotion

The gruesome murder shocked the entire nation, and led President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to promote him posthumously to Major, give him a state burial and set up a trust fund to cater for his family and any other matters.

President Akufo-Addo made a personal donation of GHC50,000, while the state, after the passage by Parliament of the Major Mahama Trust Fund Act, 2017 (Act 960), has provided GHC500,000.00.

The President also ordered the construction of a monument near Burma Camp to serve as a constant reminder to all Ghanaians not to indulge in such acts of shame and dishonour again.

Fifty-three people were arrested following the incident but that number was reduced to 14 after several weeks of investigations into the incident.

Wilberforce Asare

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