Verdict in British Missionary murder case on Feb 15

Author: GNA
One of the suspects, Kofi Seidu. Inset: Reverend Sydney Thomas Barnes
One of the suspects, Kofi Seidu. Inset: Reverend Sydney Thomas Barnes

An Accra High Court has fixed February 15 to sum up and deliver its verdict in the case of two persons who allegedly conspired and murdered Reverend Sydney Thomas Barnes, a British, American Missionary and buried him on an old farm at Nsawam in 2010.

They are, Kofi Seidu, a driver and farm manager of the 75 year old deceased and Reverend Goodwill Padmore, an educationist and in-law of the deceased.

Seidu has been charged with conspiracy to murder and murder while Padmore is facing a charge of conspiracy.

Lawyers for prosecution and the defence have both addressed the court presided over by Mr Iddrisu Abdullah.

Defence counsel led by Augustine Obuor had earlier made an application challenging the ages of three out of the seven members of the jury after this four year old trial.

According to Mr Obuor the jurors who are public servants had attained the age 60 until their services were extended by the Public Service Commission they could not act as Public Servants in their present capacity.

Citing Article 199 of the Constitution, Mr Obuor said the three members of the panel would be performing their function contrary to the constitution unless their mandates were extended by Section 4 of Act 527.

Defence counsel said his application was based on a letter written by the First Judicial Secretary to the three members reminding them that per their records they have attained age 60 and were to proceed on retirement.

However counsel said a second letter from the first Judicial Secretary only withdrew the first letter and failed to extend their period.

“I challenge the three jurors that as fair as their employers have failed to extend their mandate of service, they don’t have jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Ms Elizabeth Sackiefio, Senior Attorney from the Attorney General’s Department in her response prayed the court to extend the mandate of the jurors considering how far the case had travelled over the period.

The court dismissed the defence counsel’s application saying the defence should have objected when they were empanelled at the beginning of the trial.

Referring to the letters written by the first deputy Judicial Secretary, it noted that a letter had been written by the judicial service apologising over the first letter.

The Prosecution said the deceased was a missionary attached to the Calvary Chapel in the United States of America.

Prosecution said in 1997, the deceased came to Ghana as a missionary and established the Crossroads Christian Mission Incorporated in Koforidua in the Eastern Region. 

He also established Prestige Secretarial and Computer School, Koforidua and owned Manna Missions Farms at Akwamu Amanfo, near Nsawam. 

Prosecution said the deceased, employed Seidu as a driver and farm manager and Rev. Padmore as the Principal of the Computer and Secretarial School in Koforidua. 

Sometime in December 2009, the deceased took his leave and travelled to the USA on holidays but he constantly communicated with his employees especially Rev. Padmore. 

On March 10, 2009, the prosecution said the deceased informed Rev Padmore that he would be returning to Ghana on March 18, 2010 on board a British Airways Flight. 

The deceased therefore, asked Rev. Padmore to inform Seidu to pick him up at the airport in the evening of March 18. 

On that day, Rev. Padmore instructed Seidu to pick the deceased up but later on Seidu called to inform Rev. Padmore that the deceased was nowhere to be found as he was not among the passengers on board the British Airways Flight.

Prosecution said from that time, the two accused persons did not receive any information on the deceased. 

However, in May 2010, friends and partners of the deceased in the US became worried about the well-being of the deceased because they had lost contact with him since he left the US. 

The prosecution said through the efforts of the deceased's friend one Donne Pouguini, a Ghanaian who lived at Nkawkaw in the Eastern Region, they managed to get in touch with the deceased's church in Koforidua, where he met the accused. 

She said the accused informed Pouguini that they had also lost contact with the deceased. 

In June 2010, Pouguini managed to get the two accused to accompany him to Accra to lodge a complainant with the Police, who in turn commenced investigations with publications searching for the deceased. 

During the investigations, it was revealed that the deceased flew from USA to London with electronic ticket number 1257465295192. The deceased also arrived in London and checked in at Comfort Hotel at Heathrow. 

The deceased however, left on March 18, 2010 using the same ticket to board British Airways Flight to Ghana. 

Enquiries at the Ghana Immigration Service indicated that the deceased checked out at about 10:03 pm. 

Based on that, prosecution said Seidu was therefore picked up by the Police on September 26, 2010 where he denied ever picking the deceased from the airport. 

On October 4, 2010, Seidu confessed that the deceased had been killed, adding, he was persuaded by Rev. Padmore to kill the deceased in order to take away all the money the deceased was bringing from USA. 

Seidu, the prosecution said, mentioned that he found 3,000 dollars on the deceased which he gave to Rev Padmore, who gave him (Seidu) half of the amount. 

On October 11, 2010, Seidu led a team of pathologists and Police investigators to Manna Missions Farms at Nsawam where he had buried the deceased and the body was exhumed and sent to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital for autopsy.

On October 13, 2010, autopsy conducted indicated that the deceased died of multiple stab injuries.