The legal team of Gregory Afoko has challenged the jury selection process for his trial at the Accra High Court.
Gregory Afoko and Asabke Alangdi, have been accused of killing the Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Alhaji Adams Mahama, in 2015.
During the selection of the jurors on Wednesday, Graphic Online’s Court reporter, Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson reported that counsel for Afoko, Mr Stephen Sorwah Charway, prayed the court to allow the defence team to conduct a background check on the seven selected jurors.
According to him, that would allow the defence team to challenge the inclusion of any juror who was likely to be partial or does not qualify to be a member of the jury.
Such a challenge on the selection of juror, he said, was in line with Section 251 of the Criminal and Other Offences (procedure) Act, 1960 (Act30), Graphic Online’s Hawkson reported from the court.
Not provided in our law
In response, the prosecutor, Ms Marina Appiah Opare, a Chief State Attorney, said the request by counsel had no grounds in law.
She said per Act 30, accused persons were allowed to challenge the selection of jurors three times without giving any reasons, while the subsequent challenges must be with reasons, but there was no provision for background checks on jurors.
In her ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Merley Afua Wood, dismissed the objection raised by the defence team.
According to her, the accused persons used their three pre-emptive challenges which require them not to give any reasons, but since they did not use the subsequent challenges which required them to give reasons, there was no need for background checks on the jurors.
Meanwhile, the two accused persons have pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit murder and murder.
A seven-member jury made up of four women and three men were empanelled at Wednesday’s court sitting for the trial, Graphic Online’s Ebo Hawkson reported.
The prosecution informed the court that it will call 19 witnesses and present a number of exhibits to prove its case.
Hearing continues on July 26, 2019.