It was the first time hearing the case involving the two teens in the murder of 11-year old Ishmael Abdallah was at the Kaneshie Magistrate court, after the Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah directed it be transferred from the Ofaakor District Court.
It did not last more than 20 minutes; even though I must confess I didn’t exactly check the timing.
You cannot blame me much, can you? Afterall, there was no wall clock in the courtroom, not even a grandfather clock!
But presiding judge Rosemond Dodua Agyiri looks a stern judge. This is her court and boy, she runs this place.
So as I entered the courtroom that day, August 12, 2021, I saw her from the last pew and didn’t think of her a fraction of the impression I formed about her after she spoke.
The hearing of this matter had delayed by more than an hour that day.
And so when it was finally called and the senior state prosecutor Nana Adomaa Osei rose to her feet to ask for the case to he stood down for a few minutes to allow the investigators to show up, Justice Rosemond Agyiri would have none of that.
I remember how she, while in a soft-spoken voice told her “I am not standing the case down for a few minutes. Because we are already later by an hour.”
Nana Adomaa Osei would try to plead with her to do so in order that the investigators who she had told the court were on their way with the exhibits, would have arrived.
But the judge, like mercy said NO!
She simply said, I would adjourn to a close date, because ” when I start the case, I would not take any excuses, you know me.”
That was how the hearing of the case was adjourned to Monday, August 16, 2021, from Thursday August 12.
Ahaaaa…. before I forget, spokesperson of the family of the late 11 year old, who would usually be in court to witness proceedings was absent.
I would later gather, the spokesperson Samed Akalilu and some of the relatives travelled to Kaneshie in search of the court hearing the matter when the said court sits within the precincts of the Information Ministry. But for the intervention of a colleague on my first day in this court, I bet I would have equally travelled to Kaneshie looking for the court.
August 16, 2021 is here
The accused (Nicholas Kini, 19) and the juvenile (a 16 year-old) have just been brought into the courtroom.
This time, I did not even hear a siren or the roaring engine of the police vehicle that brings them to court.
It is exactly 10:37am and the two have been led in. I bet this is exactly what they wore on Thursday, when I was here.
The juvenile’s V-neck white T-shirt looked new, as if it was freshly removed from a pack. It looked bright and white, apart from the crumpled portions.
He wore it over a pair of black shorts.
Nicholas also wore a similar shirt only that his did not look new; I may be wrong.
His was over a pair of grey shorts.
From where I sat on the fourth pew, the clothes looked like what I saw on Thursday, and their hair looked slightly unkempt but that would not mean much to the case would it?
Investigators in court
At exactly 10; 38 AM, two minutes after the two were brought in, three men in jacket strolled into the courtroom wielding implements.
In their hand, a shovel, a rounded object I suspect is a concrete block as well as a club all wrapped in brown paper.
From where I sit, I cannot see the writings on it, but they have been marked. These are the exhibits that were to have been produced in court the other day by the investigators.
Today, they are here, and here on time. Several minutes before the case is called at 11;10 AM.
Lawyer for the accused and the juvenile Samuel Atuah, has pulled up to the other side where the two sit in their cuffs.
For at least five minutes, I could see him asking them a few questions over bended knees.
Samuel Atuah is representing the two in this matter, I guess he is catching up with them before the judge emerges from the chamber.
The beer-stealing 53-year-old in court
Let me digress a bit. While we waited for the case to be called, two other cases were briefly heard.
When the presiding judge emerged from the chamber, she was clear.
“Before I begin hearings, I do not want people moving about in the room. If you want to move, do so now. Because when I start, nobody would move around.”
I told you guys, Justice Rosemond Dodua Agyiri did not come to play.
And I guess, people who are regular in this court, know her so well.
The first case, a 53-year-old man is standing trial for guess what? Stealing Beer.
I promise I almost burst into laughter when the facts of the case were read out loud in court.
That could have landed me in a terrible contempt case, you know, and in Rosemond Agyiri’s court, I bet I may not be spared.
The 53 year-old man is accused of stealing two crates of beer (I wonder how many single bottles that would be, 24 in all or 48, well maybe my friends who know this field well can tell).
The two crates of beer per the facts presented in court, cost Ghc 164. The 53-year-old man, almost completely grey, admitted to the crime.
He pleaded GUILTY!
In a soft voice ( I could hear it break from where I sat), he told the court he stole the two crates of beer which were lying beneath a beverage truck that fateful day.
He said he looked around and saw nobody and decided to take them. The beer, according to him, belonged to a beverage vendor who would later take action against him.
He pleaded with the court to be lenient with him and pardon him.
The judge asked the prosecutor if there was any further detail to add; up rose a burly police officer who muttered a few words I could hardly hear.
The judge indicated she was going to return to the case shortly and so stood it down for a few minutes while she heard the next case.
Ours, I mean the reason for which we are in her court though, as of 12:20pm, was yet to be heard.
Case is finally called
It is was way past midday, the case was finally called. Let me spare you the initial back and forth between the senior state prosecutor and the judge.
The indictment was read to the two accused persons after which the senior state prosecutor Nana Adomaa Osei rose to her feet to pray the court commits them.
But before Justice Rosemond Dodua Agyiri did, she asked if the two had any comments to make with respect to the indictment and the charges that had just been read to them, (i) conspiracy to commit crime, to wit murder and (ii) murder.
Nicholas Kini’s testimony in court
The 19-year-old told the court he would speak in his native Ewe language and amidst occasional stammers, he narrated what he said was his side of the story.
He told the court of how the juvenile had hinted to him about plans to kill the 11-year-old.
How their discussions about how to go about it were executed by the juvenile alone and was accused only because of his association with him as a friend.
In short, Nicholas denied using a club to smack the deceased. He denied going to the said uncompleted building where the crime was committed.
He denied receiving any phone calls from the first accused person (the juvenile) in the lead up to the incident.
He denied digging up the earth in the building to bury the body of the boy after he had been killed.
He told the court on the day of the incident, the juvenile’s father came to call him and dragged him to their home, where upon seeing him, the juvenile pointed at him as having been part of the plot and subsequent killing.
He said it was then, in the home of the juvenile that residents mobbed them and began beating them, until they were whisked away into the home of the deceased 11 year-old.
In fact, when asked by one of the police men who escorted them to the police station that day, why his clothes were stained with blood, he said, “when the mob came around, they beat us up mercilessly and I sustained injuries to my upper back, that’s how come my shirt was stained.”
Well, Justice Rosemond Agyiri told him, his account in court was INCONSISTENT with all he had told police and also contained in his statement and the charge sheets.
He had given a completely new narrative of events. Justice Rosemond would ask one final time.
“Are you sure of what you have just told the court,? Because none of what you have said here corresponds with what you have on your statement file and all.”
Nicholas; (as he stammered through the sentence, he said yes, my Lord).
The juvenile’s account in court
Throughout the testimony of Nicholas Kini, the juvenile sobbed. Tears streamed down his cheeks beneath the mask he wore.
He had to be given clean tissues to dab the tears before he began to speak.
He told the court he was comfortable speaking Twi.
In graphic detail he told the court, step-by-step how the two planned to kill the deceased after watching a spiritualist money doubler on television. The female spiritualist asked that they produced five thousand cedis in addition to a human body for the rituals.
He told the court how on two occasions the plan failed to materialise, but they were determined to carry it through.
The night before the incident, he told the court he had returned from Nsawam where he went to work as a labourer with his father, and decided to pass the night with Nicholas Kini, whom he met rolling ‘weed’.
He told the court he joined in and they both smoked their hearts away that night till they fell asleep.
Fast forward he narrated how they lured the 11 year-old with a game console into the uncompleted building and Nicholas with the club of the pick axe, smacked into the back of 11 year-old’s head, who fell face down immediately.
The juvenile told the court, he then lifted a cement block to smash into the head of the struggling and almost unconscious boy, but heard boy look at him while he was on the floor and ask, “so would you kill me, even you who is my friend.”?
This drew shock emotions from everyone in the courtroom, those who were unable to keep up with the graphic account of events, broke down in tears.
But that is not all, after concluding to the court that the two of them hatched the idea and executed same, he offered additional information to the court, when Nicholas murmured in disagreement at his account of events.
He told the court, “the two of us killed Ishmael, when we were asked by the police who arrested us, Nicholas denied. He denied several times.”
“But we did it together. Because it is not the first time we have killed somebody.”
That revelation even shocked the judge, who paused and froze for a few good seconds and looked up into the direction of the two in the box.
She asked, “you did what?”
Juvenile: Yes. We have killed a pregnant woman before.
Judge: really? When?
Juvenile; he couldn’t readily remember when, but said “the two of us killed her”.
Juvenile : For sakawa. For a certain mallam.
There was eerie silence in the courtroom and not long after sobs were heard from along some of the pews. I bet I could see some journalists in tears.
On the other lane, two of the relatives of the deceased 11 year-old were weeping too.
The juvenile told the court, he was compelled to speak up because the spirit of the 11 year old they killed, was haunting him.
Kaneshie court commits the two for trial to commence at the high court on September 20
Presiding judge said, “based on all that’s before me and listening to everything, I am committing the two of you, for trail at the high court on September 20, 2021.
“The date and time may change, but liaise with the court registry on the time this should happen. “
Her parting words to the two before she rose were
“I wish you all the best in the trial, together with your lawyer Mr. Samuel Atuah.
And I want you to make peace with your God that you serve.”
And that was how the court rose and the two boys, together with the implements brought by the investigators to present in court as exhibits, were taken into the police van and off they went.
Outside the courtroom
Outside the courtroom small groups of conversations; with people still unable to believe all that’s transpired in the courtroom.
For Robert Tumfour one of the relatives of the deceased, he could simply not hold back his emotions.
He told me “I am still shocked by what I heard. This was too much for me to bear. How can these boys be so cruel to the extent that even when the 11 year old pleaded with them to spare him, they still killed him? At that point in court I could not stand it.”
He says those who were in court Monday, would not disclose these details to mother of the deceased, lest she slips back into trauma.
With bloodshot eyes, and a pale look, he together with two other relatives who had sat through proceedings, left the courtyard.
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