24 May 2012

Ghana: Court Commits Kombian for Murder Trial

Mr. Johnson Kombian, who has been sentenced to six years imprisonment for breaking out from the Tamale Prison, has been committed to stand trial for murder at the High Court, when he appeared before an Accra Magistrate court yesterday, for his role in the death of two police officers during a robbery shootout.

The court, presided over by Mr. Ali Baba Batsuri, committed the accused person to stand trial at the High Court on or before June 29, 2012, where he would be given all available chances under the law to defend himself.

The accused person allegedly conspired with other robbers, currently at large, to fire gunshots at three police officers, who were on barrier duties at the Nankpanduri scarp, an area noted for robbery activities.

The accused person and his accomplices allegedly shot Constable Prince Agyare and Constable Owusu Frimpong during the shootout, leading to one dying on the spot, and the other dying on a hospital bed.

He is facing one count of conspiracy to commit crime, and two counts of murder, however, his plea was not taken.

According to the counsel for the accused, Mr. George Asemeni, his client had denied every detail of the fact stated in the bill of indictment, adding that he was not near the scene of the crime on the said time and date of the incident.

He wondered why after two years of the incident the police had not been able to trace the whereabouts of the so- called accomplices of the accused, if there were indeed any.

He emphasised that the state does not have the right to pick any suspect as the killer of the late police officers, and that the state had the responsibility of doing its work well, so as to find the real killers.

In making a statement in court, the accused person stated that he was not there when the incident happened, and that he was innocent.

State Attorney Mrs. Marina Appiah Opare, briefing the court on the facts of the case, mentioned that on October 17, 2010, the complainant and two other policemen, namely, G/Const Prince Agyare and Constable Owusu Frimpong, were detailed for barrier duties at the Nankpanduri scarp.

According to her, the three policemen reported for duty at 5:30 a.m. and closed at about 5:30 p.m. after the last bus en route to Togo had driven past the check point.

She said on their way back home, the complainant, Lance Corporal Osei Bonsu, rode on his Sanyo motorbike with registration number VR 736 V, with Constable Prince Agyare and Constable Owusu Frimpong as pillion riders.

"When they got to a section of the road, about 500 metres from the check point and about three miles from the Nankpanduri township, they were attacked by the accused person and others, who had positioned themselves at different locations on both sides of the road.

The accused and his accomplices fired gunshots at the three policemen, who sustained various degrees of injuries, but managed to drag themselves deep into a nearby valley," she told the court.

The prosecutor further noted that Constable Prince Agyare made a distress phone call to the Bukpurungu police station for help, and fired shots from his hideout, after which he walked to the roadside in an attempt to get a vehicle to convey them to Nankpanduri, but was not successful.

She indicated that on his way back to the place where he and his colleague had taken refuge, the accused and an accomplice appeared behind him and fired indiscriminately at his colleague, resulting in his death.

According to her, later, a team of policemen went to the scene and found the three policemen lying in a pool of blood inside a valley about seven feet deep, adding that with the assistance of some residents of Nyakpanduri, the police conveyed their three injured colleagues to the Naleirigu Baptist Medical Center.

She said Constable Prince Agyare was immediately transferred to the Tamale Teaching Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, and on October 21, 2010, Constable Owusu Frimpong died at the Naleirigu Baptist Medical Center.

"Lance Coporal Osei Bonsu was taken to the Police Hospital, Accra, for further medical attention. 24 empty shells were also retrieved from the scene of the crime.

Post mortem reports on Constable Prince Agyare and Constable Owusu Frimpong gave the direct cause of death as gunshot, and the direct cause of death as hypovolemic shock in both cases," she indicated.

Mrs. Appiah Opare stated that about a month after the incident, the police received information from the Togolese authorities that the accused person had been arrested and detained at Dapangu in the Republic of Togo.

She said the accused person was later brought to Ghana and detained at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters in Accra, adding that Kombian, in his caution statement, said he did not know anything about the incident that led to the death of the two policemen.

"He said he was in Nakpanduri on October 16, 2010, when policemen came to the town and arrested some people, amidst the firing of gunshots, and so he and his wife and children went to Togo, where he was later arrested," she noted.

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