Jurors strike over unpaid allowances
Two murder cases being monitored by the Daily Graphic did not continue last Monday as jurors in both cases abandoned their duties due to unpaid allowances.
The cases are — the trial of 14 accused persons standing trial for the death of military officer Major Maxwell Mahama, and the trial of two teenagers over the death of an 11-year-old boy at Kasoa.
The two cases are being heard at the High Court in Accra.
Although the accused persons, state and defence counsels were present in court, the cases had to be adjourned due to the absence of the jurors.
The jury is made up of seven ordinary, but educated persons who, subject to the directions of the judge, decide the guilt or innocence of an accused in a case tried upon indictment.
Although not immediately known how much the state owed the jurors, the latest decision to abandon their duties is the third time this year that members of the jury have abandoned their duties over unpaid allowances.
In April, this year, the jurors in the murder case of the late Member of Parliament for Abuakwa North J.B Danquah Adu served notice of their absence in court due to the non-payment of their allowances.
In a letter addressed to the presiding judge, the jurors claimed they had not been paid their allowances since March 2022.
That, they explained, affected their ability to carry out their duties as they could not continue to bear the cost of footing their transportation to attend the court hearings.
Again in July, this year, proceedings in several cases including murder and manslaughter were suspended in the Upper West Region after jurors staged a walkout over their allowances which had been in arrears since 2021.
Major Mahama was the captain of a 31-member military team sent to Denkyira-Obuasi, now New Obuasi, to guard the properties of C&G Mining Company as a result of illegal mining activities in the area.
He was lynched in May 2017 at New Obuasi in the Central Region, after he was mistaken for an armed robber.
William Baah, the then Assemblyman for the area, is standing trial for abetment of murder while the other 13 are facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder and substantive charge of murder.
They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been in prison custody since the commencement of the trial in 2018.
The other accused persons are Bernard Asamoah, alias Daddy; Kofi Nyame aka Abortion; Charles Kwaning aka Akwasi Boah; Kwame Tuffour; Joseph Appiah Kubi; Michael Anim; Bismarck Donkor; John Bosie; Akwasi Asante; Charles Kwaning; Emmanuel Badu; Bismarck Abanga and Kwadwo Anima.
In this trial, a 15-year-old suspect has been charged alongside an 18 year old for the murder of the 11-year-old boy.
The two have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and murder, and are currently standing trial at the court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo.