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Mobilla Suspects Trial In Limbo   
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The trial of Cpl Yaw Appiah and Private Modzaka Eric, who have been accused of the murder of Alhaji Issah Mobilla, the former Northern Regional Chairman of the Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP), seems to be in limbo as Penelope Ann Mamattah, the Principal State Attorney handling the case, is still indisposed.

During Friday’s hearing, while Justice Musah Habib Logoh had empanelled a jury for the commencement of the trial, no one from the Attorney-General’s (A-G) Department was present.

No reasons were assigned for the failure of the A-G to send a state attorney to represent Ms. Mamattah. The accused persons, who were in court, seemed ready for their pleas to be taken but looked disappointed when it became obvious that the trial would be adjourned.

Their counsel, Thadeus Sory, told the court that it had been five years since his clients, who are soldiers, had been arrested in connection with the alleged offence, noting that he hoped the trial would be heard expeditiously since his clients were on remand.

Mr. Sory said since the case was assigned to a new judge, the A-G’s Department had not seemed interested in the matter, adding that he would apply for bail should the state fail to send a representative at the next hearing.

The trial judge then told some of the state attorneys in the courtroom to inform their boss to send another state attorney if the one handling the case was still indisposed. The case has been adjourned to June 6, 2011.

The soldiers filed a motion at the Supreme Court to prevent Justice Dzamefe from further hearing the matter due to fears that they might not get a fair trial. A five-member panel chaired by Justice (Prof) S.K. Date-Baah, unanimously held that Justice Dzamefe “lacks jurisdiction to hear the case.”

The court declared the case as a fresh one because the old jury had been dismissed for the trial to start afresh. According to them, the elevation of the trial judge to the Court of Appeal meant that he could only handle partly heard cases with the permission of the Chief Justice, Justice Georgina Theodora Wood.

They therefore quashed all orders made by the trial judge after the case started afresh. A principal state attorney, Rexford Wiredu, holding brief for Chief State Attorney Ms Mamattah, had a hard time convincing the court.

Justices Date-Baah, Sophia Adinyera, Anin Yeboah, B.T. Aryeetey and Sule Gbadegbe were of the opinion that the case was not a new case even though the old jury had been dismissed and a new one sworn in to hear the case all over again.

When the learned justices asked why the state attorney thought the case could not be said to be new, he said that he was aware that there was a letter from the Chief Justice to the trial judge, asking him to continue the case.

At this juncture, Justice Adinyera pointed out to Mr. Wiredu that the issue of the trial judge being asked to continue the case had never been put before them. Mr. Wiredu however said that the state had seen such a letter but when asked if he had it, he answered in the negative.
Source: d-guide

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