Two men, who are facing trial at an Accra High Court (Criminal Division) for allegedly murdering a British-American Missionary, Rev Sidney Thomas Barnes, will on February 15, 2018 know their fate when the court delivers its judgement in the case.
The two accused persons, Kofi Seidu, a driver and Rev Padmore Goodwill, caretaker of the Prestige Secretarial and Computer School, Koforidua, were put before the court on charges of conspiracy to commit crime and murder.
They allegedly conspired and murdered Reverend Sydney Thomas Barnes aged 75, and buried the body on an old farm at Nsawam in 2010.
After about four years of trial, a seven-member jury is expected to deliver its verdict when the case resumes on February 15, 2018.
At yesterday’s sitting, a state Attorney, Elizabeth Sackeyfio and Augustines Obour, counsel for the accused persons, delivered their respective addresses to the jury and urged it to critically consider all that transpired during the trial before making a decision.
Ms Sackeyfio, who made a case for the state, noted that the prosecution had called five witnesses, all of whom have knowledge of the murder.
She also read the facts as well as the charges proffered against the two accused persons and urged the jury to be guided by it.
Mr. Obuor, on his part, averred that none of the five prosecution witnesses was able to tell the court the role each accused person played in the alleged murder and could not tell whether they really murdered the deceased.
He also stated that the prosecution witnesses could not tell the court how Rev Padmore conspired with Seidu to commit the crime.
The court, presided over Justice Abdulai Iddrisu, adjourned the matter to February 15, 2018 to guide the jury on the addresses of the prosecution and the defence lawyer to enable it take a decision.
Meanwhile, the trial was nearly truncated when the defence lawyer filed an application to question the eligibility of three members of the jury.
According to him, the three have attained the statutory age of 60 and cannot act as jurors until the Public Services Commission extends their contracts.
He said owing to the fact that their employers had failed to extend their services, they should proceed on retirement, saying they do not have jurisdiction over the matter.
But the prosecution reminded the court to consider the duration of the case.
She therefore prayed the court to extend the stay of the three jurors.
The judge, in his ruling on the application, stated that the first letter given to the three jurors by the Judicial Service in respect of their retirement had been withdrawn and an apology rendered.
He said there is nothing before the court concerning the retirement age of the three and the accused persons should have objected to their inclusion from the beginning when the jury was empaneled.
He said after four years of trial, it would be unfair to keep the three jurors away from the trial after they had sat through it from the beginning.
He subsequently declined to grant the application.
Rev Sydney Thomas Barnes was allegedly killed by the accused persons and his body buried in a well at his pawpaw farm at Nsawam Adoagyiri.
The body was later exhumed when Seidu, on October 11, 2010, led a team of investigators and pathologists from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to the Mana Mission Farm, where the missionary was buried.
The deceased was a British-America national, who had lived in Ghana since 1997 and established a church called Cross Road Christian Mission Incorporated in Koforidua, the Eastern Regional capital, where he lived.
He also had a pawpaw and pineapple farm at Akwamu-Amanfo, near Nsawam Adoagyiri which was managed by Kofi Seidu.
The slain man of God also owned the Prestige Secretarial and Computer School where Pastor Padmore Goodwill served as the principal.