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Convicted Asabke Alangdi (left) and Gregory Afoko
Convicted Asabke Alangdi (left) and Gregory Afoko

NPP Chairman’s murder: Convicted Alangdi to stand trial again with Afoko

Asabke Alangdi, the man convicted and sentenced to death for conspiring with Gregory Afoko to murder former New Patriotic Party’s Upper East Regional Chairman, Adams Mahama, will stand trial again on the charge of murder. 

This was the ruling of the Criminal Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Maries-Louis Simmons in the case in which Afoko was to be retried for the third time in eight years on the charge of conspiracy and murder.

In a ruling yesterday, Justice Simmons acknowledged that the Attorney-General had the power to determine who to initiate a case against and said it would be unfair for Afoko to stand trial alone on the charge of conspiracy to murder, and murder. 

Context

In April this year, a seven-member jury of a court presided over by Justice Merley Afua Wood, a Justice of the Court of Appeal sitting as an additional High Court judge, returned a final verdict which unanimously found Asabke Alangdi guilty on the charge of conspiring with Gregory Afoko to kill Mahama in 2015 but returned a 4 - 3 verdict of not guilty on the charges of conspiracy to commit murder and murder for Afoko.

By the verdict, the two were not guilty of the offence of murder.

Alangdi, was however guilty of the offence of conspiracy to commit murder, leading the court to proceed to pass the mandatory sentence of death on Alangdi which he had since appealed the decision.

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While Justice Wood ordered the retrial of Afoko, she did not order a retrial for Alangdi.

Appearing before a differently constituted court presided over by Justice Simmons in November this year for the trial to re-start, Afoko through his lawyer challenged the decision of the prosecution for a retrial of Alangdi on the charge of murder without an order or retrial from the previous court.

Stephen Charway was of the view that there was no way the state could begin a retrial of Alangdi since the previous court did not explicitly state that he should be retried alongside his client.

But the prosecution led by Marina Appiah Opare told the court that the previous trial court inadvertently omitted to order the retrial of Alangdi on the charge of murder adding that Alangdi should be tried again.

Justice Simmons said the Constitution under Sections 285 and 286 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1960 (Act 30) made provisions for a retrial under such circumstances.

But Alangdi’s lawyer, Andrew Vortia, has vowed to challenge the court’s decision of a re-trial of his already convicted client.

The case has been adjourned to December 21, 2023 for the two to take their pleas.  

Other issues

The case had to be adjourned because the only Frafra interpreter available had been on leave affecting the court’s ability to take Alangdi’s plea.

The judge has also indicated that some of the jurors available said they were unwilling to take up the case.

She added that some of the jurors said they were engaged in more than 10 cases, and hence could not take on extra ones.

Justice Simmons said she had written to the High Court Registrar for the issue to be addressed by the next adjourned date. 

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