The Assemblyman for Denkyira Obuasi, William Baah, who is standing trial together with 13 others for their respective roles in the lynching of Major Maxwell Mahama has said he did not order the killing of the young military officer.
William Baah, who is the first accused person also told the court that the late Major Mahama “did not give me a chance to find out who he was.”
The Assemblyman who is also a teacher, and referred to by many as Misty has denied the charge of abetment with the 13 others also pleading not guilty to the charges of conspiracy and murder.
Mounting his defence to the charge of abetment, William Baah told the High Court in Accra that, he tried to know major Mahama’s mission in the town but he “pointed a gun at me.”
Being led by his lawyer George Bernard Shaw to give his Evidence-in-Chief, William Baah said his responsibility as an Assembyman is to protect lives in the area including “strangers.”
“I am in Assembyman for Denkyira Obuasi. It is my responsibility to protect the lives of the people in the community and even strangers,” he told the court.
“It is not my intention to harm anyone and when the incident happened, I tried to go and ask the victim (Major Mahama) who he was and what his mission in the town was.
“Since he did not give me the chance to find out who he was, but rather pointed a gun at me, I had no option than to go to the police station to report for the police to come for him,” the accused told the court.
According to him, “as at the time i was going to the police station, no one had touched the victim or abused him verbally.”
No order to murder
“What I have been charged with by the police is that, I have abetted the killing of the deceased. I did not order anyone to use stick or gun to murder the deceased.
He added that “When I was going there, I was not holding any stick or cutlass or gun” and “since I was born, till I got to JHS level, I have never gotten into a fight before and I had never seen my parents fighting.”
The accused also told the court that, “it would be very difficult for me as an assemblyman to incite people to pick up weapons to attack any person and kill that person.”
He concluded his Evidence-in-Chief saying “I do not know anything about what I have been charged with.”
Call to Police Commander
William Baah had told the court that, after he had made enquiries of where the gun major Mahama was holding was after the incident, he called the police commander.
“I called the Police Commander and I told him, I have been trying to reach him on phone but have not been able to get through to him and I told him what had happened.”
The Police Commander he said confirmed to him that, the person has died after he was conveyed to the hospital.
He told the court that, after the crowd at the crime scene had cleared, he left back to school.
Fear and panic
William Baah also told the court that, a friend of his at Diaso called and informed him that, he had heard that, the person who died was a soldier.
This information, he said, led to some of the people in the town run away.
Explaining to the court why the people were running away, he said, “in the beginning they thought they had killed an armed robber but when they heard that the victim was a soldier, they panicked and started to run away.
Commander advised me to go into hiding
“I called the police commander on phone and talked with him and he told me now that it had been confirmed that the victim was a soldier and they had come to his office.”
He added: “I asked him what would be done now and when the soldiers come to the town, they wouldn’t know who is who so I should go into hiding for now.
“So, I left that town and went to a town called Ampa Abena in the Diaso District.”
He told the court that, he stayed at Ampa Abena for two days but upon hearing his name mentioned on radio, that, he had run away, and the police are looking for him for investigation, he called the Commander and disclosed his location and they came for him.
Time with the Police
He told the court that, after he was picked from his location, he was taken to the Cape Coast Police Station and interrogated.
He told the court that, after interrogation, they took him to Police Headquarters handcuffed.
“They handcuffed me and made me sit at the edge of the seat with my toes suspended and I was shaking and anytime I try sitting properly, they scold me that, we have killed a soldier.”
He also told the court that, he moved to another office after telling him that, some people have come and “they showed me a video of what had happened and they asked me to show them where I was standing and the dress I was wearing.”
He said, when he was brought back to the Cape Coast Police headquarters, some of the things that he said were not captured in his statement.
“After my statement was taken, it was read back to me and I realised I said some things that were not taken down so I told him (officer) so he slammed his hand on the table and I panicked.”
He added that, the officer told him “I was not the one to show him how to do his work.”
The Court presided over by Justice Mariama Owusu, a Justice of the Supreme Court sitting with an additional responsibility as a High Court judge has adjourned sitting to October 31 for further Cross Examination.
The late Major Mahama of the 5th Infantry Battalion, Burma Camp, Accra, was on duty at Denkyira-Obuasi, and on May 29, 2017, some residents allegedly mistook him for an armed robber and lynched him.
The mob had ignored his persistent plea that he was an officer of the Ghana Armed Forces.
The Assembly Member and 13 others are still in prison custody after they pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit crime, murder, abetment of crime and other charges.
They are Baah, Bernard Asamoah, alias Daddy, Kofi Nyame,a.k.a Abortion, AkwasiBoah, Kwame Tuffour, Joseph Appiah Kubi, Michael Anim and Bismarck Donkor.
Others are John Bosie, Akwasi Baah, Charles Kwaning, Emmanuel Badu, Bismarck Abanga and Kwadwo.