In an unexpected turn of events, an Accra High Court has ordered that Daniel Asiedu, the prime suspect in the murder of JB Danquah-Adu, the late Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa North, be taken to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital for mental examination.
This follows an application by the lawyer for the accused person – Augustine Obuor – who told the court that his client may not be mentally fit to appreciate the consequences of the charges levelled against him.
In his argument, the lawyer averred that his personal encounters with the accused person give him reason to believe that he may not be mentally sound.
He cited an instance where Daniel Asiedu allegedly told him he was going to be enstooled as chief at Akwapim and was therefore inviting the lawyer to take charge of the food and drinks for the occasion.
He also touched on the accused person’s behaviour in court and his insistence that the court should get him a lawyer from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The lawyer insisted that these were some of the reasons why he was praying the court to make an order for Daniel Asiedu to be taken to the hospital to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial.
Mr. Obour insisted that his client’s mental state must be determined by a qualified medical practitioner before his plea is taken by the court.
He added that he had made a similar application at the District Court during the committal proceedings but his request was overruled by the court.
However, the prosecution led by Sefakor Batse, a senior state attorney, opposed the application saying “as far as we are concerned, we are not aware of any mental issues with the first accused person (Daniel Asiedu)”.
According to her, it was too early to bring the matter of ‘insanity’ up as she has not seen what has been demonstrated to show that the accused person is of unsound mind.
After listening to the arguments, the presiding judge, Justice Buadi, ordered that the accused person be taken to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital for mental examination.
According to him, Daniel Asiedu’s utterances and insistence on the court to get him an ICC lawyer does not make him (judge) think that the accused person appreciates events and it is only a scientific test that will prove that.
He therefore ordered that the case be put on hold until the medical report on the mental soundness or otherwise of the accused is scientifically determined.
He also ordered that the report must be ready in a month’s time upon the receipt of the court’s order and should be submitted to court by May 27.
The court’s registrar is also to ensure that the director of the hospital receives the order by close of today.
The case resumes on June 3.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak