Daniel Asiedu, the man accused of killing the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa North Mr J.B. Danquah-Adu, in 2016 will for a while be without legal representation after his lawyer withdrew his services.
The lawyer, Mr Augustine Obour, who had been defending Asiedu for close to five years on pro-bono basis, decided to withdraw his services after a video which went viral showed Asiedu confessing to killing Mr Danquah-Adu.
Mr Obour’s withdrawal from the case will also affect Vincent Bosso, the second accused person who is alleged to have conspired with Asiedu to rob the MP.
Counsel told the Accra High Court on Friday that he found it very difficult to defend the accused persons when he (Asiedu) had confessed to the whole world, including the jurors who will decide his fate of his murderous deed.
“I, therefore, find it very difficult to defend this matter when the first accused (Asiedu) has told the whole world, including jurors, that he committed the crime as charged. I humbly seek to state that I will not be able to represent the accused persons in this matter from this point,” counsel told the court.
In her response, the Presiding Judge, Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, said although she respected counsel’s decision to withdraw his services, she could not buy into the reasons underpinning the decision.
Firstly, she said social media had become part of everyday life, “a situation that makes it possible to get access to information immediately the information gets out.”
“We are in an era of a vibrant social media, where a cough in this case is put out in the public domain. We cannot have control over that, unfortunately. But as lawyers we know that public sentiments and opinions expressed on social media do not establish a prima facie case against an accused person,” she said.
Secondly, Justice Marfo said, the court was yet to empanel a jury, and even if the jury was empaneled, they had a duty to determine the fate of the accused persons based on the evidence presented by the prosecution and not what they hear outside the courtroom.
But, that notwithstanding, Justice Marfo said she would respect counsel’s decision to withdraw his services and subsequently directed the court’s registrar to inform the Director of Legal Aid to appoint a new lawyer for the accused persons.
The case will continue on December 16, when the court would be expected to empanel a seven-member jury.
Asiedu and Vincent Bosso have been charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, while Asiedu has been charged separately with murder and robbery.
The two have pleaded not guilty to the offences.
Mr Danquah-Adu was murdered in his residence at Shiashie, near Accra, on February 9, 2016.
It is the case of the prosecution that Asiedu and Bosso planned to go on a robbery spree but Bosso changed his mind and went home.
The prosecution said Asiedu went to Shiashie and picked the MP’s house to rob.
According to the prosecution, in the course of searching for items to steal, Asiedu made some noise which woke the MP up.
The prosecution said a struggle ensued between the two, leading to Asiedu stabbing the MP in the neck and chest and killing him in the process.