2 Jurors Quit Mahama Trial

The late Major Mahama

Persons who have been randomly chosen to be empanelled as jurors for the trial of 14 suspects alleged to have murdered Major Maxwell Mahama at Denkyira Obuasi in the Central Region, appear to be distancing themselves from the job.

Out of 17 persons who were nominated, only six have been empanelled so far, leaving the court to embark on a desperate search for jurors.

Already, two of the jurors who had earlier been nominated have opted out, given various reasons why they could not be part of the jury.

One of those who opted out presented a long letter and document to the court saying she had an interview with some professors and so would not be available for the trial.

Although the trial judge, Justice Mariama Owusu, did not seem entirely convinced, she decided to allow the juror to opt out.

The other (name withheld), prior to her empanelling, told the court that she did not feel comfortable with the whole court process and did not see herself as competent enough to be part of the jury.

In spite of the complaints, she was added to the jury after none of the accused persons had rejected her, completing the seven-member panel.

She was however, dropped when she continuously stressed that she did not want to be part of the team.

Mrs. Evelyn Keelson, a Chief State Attorney who is prosecuting the case, asked the court to accept the request and take the juror out.

She said looking at the demeanour and attitude of the juror, it would be a big risk to allow her be part of the jury.

Defence lawyer Augustine Obuor, supported the position of the prosecutor, adding that there are 14 accused persons and the prosecution had indicated that they would be calling 15 witnesses.

He noted that it is better to take out the unwilling juror then than having to start the whole trial over again because of one juror.

Another defence lawyer, George Bernard Shaw, however, disagreed with his co-defender and the prosecution saying, the juror could only be taken off the jury after she had given a compelling reason and not because she did not feel comfortable being on the panel.

After listening to the juror who had tears in her eyes, Justice Owusu though unimpressed, decided to take her off, leaving six jurors who had been empanelled.

Meanwhile, the judge has adjourned the case to April 25, 2018 to allow the court to assemble more jurors from whom one would be chosen to complete the seven-member jury.

BY Gibril Abdul Razak