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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Court Raises Concerns Over Minors Being Presented In Open Court On Murder Charges

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Delali Kukey
QueenDelaDela, Broadcast journalist very passionate about what i do.

The Bekwai Magistrate Court on Thursday expressed reservations about the appearance of three minors before an open court.

The three juveniles are accused of murdering Richard Appiah, a final year student of Oppong Memorial Senior High School at Kokofu in the Ashanti Region.

Presiding Magistrate, Joseph Akuoko, queried Police prosecution over what he said is a breach of court procedures.

But the prosecution, led by Detective Chief Inspector Anthony Agyei, explained that the juveniles were brought before the Court to seek direction from the Judge.

The Court subsequently moved the hearing to the chamber to protect the rights of the juvenile, who were subsequently remanded into Police custody.

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Facts of how Richard Appiah was allegedly killed emerged at the chamber.

The prosecution told the Court that on September 4, 2021, a confrontation ensued between the accused and the deceased, who was in the company of his friends. They had sneaked out of campus without permission at about 9:30pm.

When the deceased and his friends realised the accused persons outnumbered them, they called other colleagues on campus for support.

A few minutes later, the students arrived to join in the fight.

The second accused person broke a bottle and stabbed Richard Appiah. He was rushed to the Ahmadiyya Mission Hospital at Kokofu, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

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The prosecution prayed the Court to remand the accused persons who are pupils of Great Provider Junior High School (JHS) and  Kokofu M/A JHS respectively and asked for a bench warrant for three others at large.

The Court granted all the reliefs and remanded the accused persons into juvenile cells to reappear on September 17, 2021.

The Court, however, asked the Police to speed up investigations since the accused persons are juveniles.

Prosecutor, Chief Inspector Anthony Agyei, who later spoke to journalist defended the decision to present the juveniles in open court.

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“We have to present this case to the open Court and then we brief the presiding magistrate about the ages of the accused persons. And then the court will take a decision as to whether to hear the case in chambers or the family tribunal, or in an open court.

“And that’s what we exactly did and the presiding magistrate decided that once they are juveniles, he will hear them in chambers,” he said.

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