The case of the two soldiers standing trial over the death of Alhaji Issa Mobilla, Former Northern Regional Chairman of Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP), was on Wednesday adjourned sine die (indefinitely) pending a directive from the Chief Justice.
At an Accra Fast Track High Court presided over by Mr. Justice Senyo Dzamefe, a Court of Appeal Judge, said “based on the objection raised by the defence counsel, as to whether the case is a part heard or a fresh matter, the court would adjourn the matter sine die pending the Chief Justice’s Directive”.
“The jury is thereby discharged”, the trial judge added.
Mr. Justice Dzamefe stated further that “I think for personal reasons I would stop it, I would not continue with this matter”.
Mr. Thaddeus Sory, defence counsel, had raised an objection saying it was unconstitutional for the court to continue to hear the matter since the trial judge had been elevated to the status of a Court of Appeal Judge.
According to Mr. Sory, he had not seen any written request saying that the trial judge should preside over the case.
“My Lord cannot start hearing the matter because the court had not been properly constituted in the three categories stated under Article 139 (1) of the 1992 Constitution”.
Mr. Sory said the Chief Justice ought to have assigned a judge to take up the matter and asked that the matter be referred to the Supreme Court so they could directed as what to do.
He stated that his clients had registered their displeasure saying the court could not grant them justice.
Mr. Sory said government had stated earlier that the case was most priority to them and for that matter could not be treated as an ordinary matter before the court.
Prosecuting, Chief State Attorney Ms. Penelope Mamattah intimated that defence counsel should have sought from the presiding judge whether or not he had been assigned to take over the case.
Ms. Mamattah debunked defence counsel’s argument that it was unconstitutional for the court to hear the matter because the trial judge had been elevated.
On July 27, this year, the court replaced a member of the jury who had not recovered from his ailment.
The seven-member jury was therefore sworn-in again by the court, and the facts were read out to the accused persons.
The soldiers; Corporal Yaw Appiah and Private Eric Modzaka and their accomplice, Private Seth Goka, had been charged with conspiracy to murder and murdering Alhaji Mobilla.
The State is yet to arrest Private Goka, an accomplice.
Appiah and Modzaka’s plea were not taken following the objection raised by their counsel. They are however remanded into Police custody.
At the court’s sitting, it ruled that whenever a member of jury was incapacitated, the law grants that the matter starts afresh.
A new woman member of the jury was substituted and sworn-in when the case was called.
Prosecution’s case is that the deceased, until his death, was a transport owner and Chairman of Northern Regional Branch of Ghana Private Road Transport Union.
It said on December 9, 2004, the deceased was arrested by the Police for allegedly supplying the youth in Tamale with guns to foment trouble.
While in custody, the Police allegedly received information that his sympathisers were mobilising to free him.
The deceased was transferred from Police cells to the Kamina Military Barracks in Tamale and handed over to the three accused persons who searched, undressed and put him in the guard room.
At about 2130 hours the same day, the Police received information that Alhaji Mobilla, aka Issah Mohammed, had collapsed and died in cells.