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Trial of Accused Killers of Captain Mahama Symbol of What Has Gone Awry With Our Legal System

There is a lot one can say about our legal system; for one thing it is  fair and compassionate, for another, it is slow and cumbersome. When you expect it to dispense justice in a quick and timely fashion, it crawls, yawns and disappoints. Ultimately, it ends up hurting both  victims and defendants.

I am making this point with one particular notorious case in mind — the gruesome murder of Captain Mahama in 2017. The circumstances of the young officer’s demise were deeply upsetting and outrageous. While on a morning jog, Captain Mahama was pounced on by a mob of angry villagers and viciously beaten to death.

Anger against the perpetrators of the violent act was immediate and widespread. Many wanted instant retribution; but there had to be a due process for the accused.

Ghana has come too far since the days of military rule to preside over the miscarriage of justice. According to our legal system, those fingered in the killing of Capt. Mahama had to have their day in court, to plead their case before a jury of their peers.

Despite their heinous crime, they had the presumption of innocence until they were found guilty in a court of law.

Because the case had gained international attention, the general consensus was that the trial of Capt. Mahama’s killers would be quick and fair so as to give a sense of justice to the family of the victim. Ghanaians trusted the court system to do the right thing.

However, it has been a hugely disappointing trial. The case has dragged on ad infinitum, almost to the point of exhaustion.

What is particularly galling is the fact that the trial has been postponed several times for reasons as absurd as the defendants rejection of a particular jury member. You want to know the truth? the whole thing would have been laughable if it wasn’t a high profile murder case.

Our legal system has a lot of challenges, and the trial of the fourteen defendants in the Captain Mahama murder case is symptomatic of everything that is wrong with the system. His is obviously not the exception.

In fact, thousands of Ghanaians who have no or inadequate legal representation are languishing in jail on frivolous charges, without any prospect of going to trial anytime soon to prove their innocence. This is the crux of the matter.

It will be obviously be out of place to say our legal system is rotten to the core. But this is the bittersweet truth —- Ghanaians have little faith in it.




It seems the system has woefully failed Captain Mahama’s family



The case has been dragged out for


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