General

Psychiatrist to be cross-examined in J.B. ‘killer’ trial

The psychiatrist who conducted a psychiatric examination on Daniel Asiedu, the suspected murderer of a former legislator, Mr J.B. Danquah-Adu, will appear before the Accra High Court to answer why he concluded that Asiedu was mentally stable.

Lawyers for the suspected killer will cross-examine Dr Sammy Ohene during the court sitting on July 22, 2019.

The medical doctor will also be in court on that day to be sworn in as a witness in order to tender his report on Asiedu’s mental state.

The court, presided over by Justice George Buadi, ordered for the appearance of the medical doctor at Thursday’s court sitting after counsel for Asiedu, Mr Augustine Obour, drew the court’s attention to the fact that Dr Ohene did not tender his report under oath as required by law.

According to counsel, per Section 61 of the Evidence Act, 1973 (NRCD, 323), before the report could be admitted as an exhibit, the medical doctor must tender it as a witness sworn under oath.

“He must appear as a witness and be sworn before he can tender the report,” counsel argued.

Court order

In her response, the prosecutor, Ms Sefakor Batse, a Senior State Attorney, opposed counsel’s submission and argued that there was no need for the doctor to re-appear before the court to be sworn under oath.

According to her, when Dr Ohene’s report was read by Justice Buadi on June 27, 2019, another lawyer who stood in for Lawyer Obour did not ask the doctor any question, neither did the prosecution also ask questions.

“The doctor had to be sworn in if we had questions for him but there were no questions for him,” she argued.

At that point, Justice Buadi told the senior state attorney that no weight could be given to the report since Dr Ohene did not tender it under oath.

He, therefore, agreed with Lawyer Obour and ordered the registrar of the court to inform the medical doctor to appear before the court on July 22, 2019 to be sworn under oath to tender the report and also for him to be cross-examined.

Report

On June 27, 2019, Dr Ohene’s report as read by Justice Buadi showed that Asiedu was a person of sound mind.

According to the report, four different psychiatric examinations were conducted on Asiedu and all showed that he was mentally sound.

The report further indicated that the father of Asiedu was queried and he indicated that his son had no history of mental illness but rather, a history of delinquency.

The psychiatric examination was ordered by the court on April 14, 2019 following a prayer by Mr Obour who had argued that he believed his client was not mentally sound.

Death

Mr Danquah-Adu was the Member of Parliament for Abuakwa -North in the Eastern Region when he was murdered at his residence at Shiashie near Accra on February 9, 2016.

Asiedu and another accused person, Vincent Bosso, have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery, while Asiedu has pleaded not guilty to murder and robbery.

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