Judge in attempted Mahama assassin case breached the law- Xavier Sosu

A human rights lawyer says the ten-year jail term handed Charles Antwi, the man who attempted to assassinate President John Mahama is illegal.

Francis Xavier Sosu says the verdict is a complete “miscarriage of justice” and a “violation of the Mental Health Act.”

While he does not support the intended action of the convict, Sosu said due process must be seen to have been followed in prosecuting him.

“The president must have maximum security at all times. The country should not take it kindly when anybody attempts to take the life of the president and his family. Whilst it is important for the person to be punished, the right procedures must be followed,” he stated

He added the person against whom an offence is committed should not determine the procedures followed in handing down justice.

Francis Xavier Sosu will be heading to court hopefully next week in an attempt to reverse the ten-year sentence handed Charles Antwi.

The 36-year-old man was arrested Sunday with a gun in the church attended by President John Mahama. Fortunately neither the president nor his family was around at the time of the incident.

He was sent to court, charged with illegal possession of a firearm and sentenced to a 10-year jail term.

Throughout the trial, it was evident the suspect was not mentally sound. He confessed to wanting to assassinate the president because he was supposed to have been sworn in as president after president John Mills died in 2012.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Despite the inconsistencies and incoherence in the responses of the suspect, he was found guilty of the offence and sentenced accordingly.

Some lawyers have raised issues with the procedures followed in sentencing the suspect. Francis Sosu is one of them.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Ghana Connect programme, the human rights lawyer said, “the trial judge occasioned a miscarriage of justice after taking his plea and convicting him on the plea.”

He said the explanation by the suspect was “incoherent” and it was evident the suspect had some mental derangement.

He said the judge could easily have ordered a medical and psychological examination of the suspect before proceeding with his judgement.

Again he said the suspect had a right to a lawyer.
“For a high profile case like this, the suspect should have been given the right to a lawyer,” he noted, adding the legal aid and other lawyers were ready to put in a defence for him.

Commenting on the number of years handed, Sosu said the maximum sentence for the charge of illegal possession of firearm was five years. It was an aberration for the judge to sentence the convict to ten years imprisonment.

He said they will be going to the High Court with an order of certiorari to attempt to revrse the sentence.

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