THE TWO teenagers hauled before an Accra High Court for murdering an 11-year-old boy at Kasoa last year, are to be tried as juveniles as they are considered to be to be young offenders under the Juvenile Justice Act.
A young person under the Juvenile Justice Act is “a person who is eighteen years or above eighteen years but is under twenty-one.”
The court, presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, yesterday indicated that the accused, who are 15 and 18 respectively, would be tried summarily and there would be no need to empanel a jury for their trial.
She said the eldest among the two who is 18, is still a young offender and under the Juvenile Justice Act, even when he is found guilty, he would only serve a maximum of three years’ imprisonment.
“Before today, I had stated we were going to empanel a jury for the trial of this matter. However, looking at the ages of the accused persons, one being 18 and the other 15 and considering the Juvenile Justice Act, it may not be necessary to have them tried by jury. The oldest among them is still a young offender under the Juvenile Act and in the case as this offence, if he is found culpable, he is likely to be sentenced to a maximum of three (3) years under the Juvenile Justice Act,” she said.
The court, therefore, adjourned the case to May 26, 2022, to set out the parameters for the trial. She reminded the lawyers in the matter that the case must be completed within six (6) months, hence they need to be committed.
Meanwhile, private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu, has decided to represent one of the accused persons after another lawyer, Samuel Atuah, said he could not represent them both due to their stances on the charge preferred against them.
The two were committed by a Kaneshie Magistrate Court last year August after it found that there was enough evidence for them to stand trial for the alleged murder of Ishmael Mensah Abdallah.
The court, during the committal proceedings, was shocked when one of the teenagers ‘confessed’ that they killed a pregnant woman prior to the gruesome killing of 11-year-old Ishmael Mensah Abdallah for money rituals.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak