Afoko trial exhibits ‘choke’ jurors

Source: Daily Guide   
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The jurors hearing the case of Gregory Afoko, the key suspect in the murder of the Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Adams Mahama, were yesterday ‘intoxicated’ by the pungent smells from some of the items tendered in as exhibits by the prosecutor.

The jurors, the defence and audience in the court were initially taken by surprise when they saw the nature of damage done to the clothes and shoes of the deceased.

The wine-colour shirt, which the prosecutor had earlier told the court that the late Adams Mahama was wearing at the time Gregory Afoko and Aabke Alangdi (on the run) poured acid on him in his vehicle, was submitted to the court.

Three years after the incident occurred, the strength of the acid was still felt in the shirt which was almost completely shredded by the acid.

Detective Chief Inspector Augustine Nkrumah who is the 14th prosecution witness led in his evidence-in-chief by Mathew Amponsah, a senior state attorney tendered in evidence the shredded shirt and other materials collected during investigations as exhibits. The whole courtroom was overtaken by the strong acidic smell coming out of the items submitted to court.

The seven jurors who were sitting right next to the items felt the effect more as most of them were choked by the smell, causing some of them to sneeze a couple of times. This compelled the Presiding Judge, Justice Lawrence L. Mensah, to ask the court clerk to open all the windows and the doors to allow in fresh air.

Investigations

Detective Chief Inspector Augustine Nkrumah told the court that he was at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Homicide Unit of the Ghana Police Service on May 21, 2015, when his unit commander Superintendent William Sedoame instructed him to take over the investigation of the late Adam Mahama’s death from the Bolgatanga crime unit.

He said a team of police officers were airlifted from Burma Camp in Accra to the Bolgatanga sports stadium where they met police officers who were there waiting for them.

He told the court that they first went to the hospital morgue where the deceased was identified to the team by his brother. He stated that Dr. Lawrence Adusei, a Pathologist at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, performed a post-mortem on the body and confirmed the cause of death to be extensive acid burns.

Detective Chief Inspector Nkrumah said they later went to the crime scene – the deceased’s house where they met his wife and other family members in the house.

He said the wife of the deceased narrated how the husband came home screaming after the acid was poured on him by Gregory Afoko and Aabke Alangdi. He said they later went to the vehicle which the deceased was driving at the time the acid was poured on him.

“We realised that the seat of the driver was soaked with liquid substance so we took a sample of the driver’s seat that was soaked with the liquid. We also saw some of the liquid substance in the inner handle door of the driver’s side. We cut some of the dried foam of the seat which had not been soaked with the liquid. We used it to collect the liquid which was in the inner handle of the vehicle. We also found the liquid on the carpets in the car”, Detective Chief Inspector Nkrumah told the court.

The investigator told the court that after their preliminary investigations in the house, they later went to Afoko’s house to search his room.

He said they met the accused person’s brother John Afoko in the house who after some phone calls allowed them to search the room.

“John permitted us and led us to the accused person’s room where we conducted the search in the presence of John Afoko and Emmanuel Kharmah Junior. During the search the trouser of a tracksuit was found in a paper box in the accused person’s room. We saw some burns on the tracksuit and splashes of some substance on the tracksuit so we became suspicious and took it as an exhibit”, Detective Chief Inspector Nkrumah told the court.

Asked if there were any other exhibits apart from those he and his team collected from the crime scene, he said exhibits collected by the Bolgatanga Regional CID were handed over to the team from Accra.

Detective Chief Inspector Nkrumah tendered in evidence a gallon containing residue of acid, vehicle’s interior rubber carpet, pair of shoes belonging to the deceased and the dress he was wearing at the time the acid was poured on him, and a sample from the seat of the vehicle.

The rest include pair of tracksuit trousers belonging to Afoko, car seat sample, part of the vehicle’s seat foam, an empty Voltic bottle with a whitish substance which was found in the vehicle, a plastic cup allegedly used in pouring the acid on the deceased. Hearing continues Friday.

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