The two teenagers, who allegedly murdered an eleven-year-old boy during the Easter holidays as a ‘money ritual’ and sparking a nationwide outrage, were yesterday denied bail by the Kasoa District Court in the Central Region.
The court, presided over by Samuel Akwasi Agyei, remanded the two boys namely Felix Nyarko aka Yaw Anane and Nicholas Kwame Kini, aged 16 and 17 respectively until May 4, after the prosecution told the court that they were yet to ascertain the actual ages of the suspects.
Ascertaining the actual ages of the accused persons in the gruesome murder of Ishmael Mensah Abdallah as directed by the Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame to the police last week will enable the prosecution to determine whether to try them in a juvenile court or send them to the mainstream court system for adults.
Per the charge sheet, Nyarko and Kini conspired and killed Ishmael at Coca Cola, near Lamptey Mills, in Kasoa during the Easter holidays.
They are currently facing preliminary charges including conspiracy to commit murder and murder.
The suspects who are said to be in custody at the Police Headquarters in Accra were brought in under heavy security. They looked calm and composed.
When the case was called yesterday, there was no legal representation and the judge asked a counsel who had come to court for a different case, to stand in for them.
The lawyer, Samuel Atuah, then told the court that since Article 19 (2) of the Constitution directs that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty, the court should consider that provision to grant the teens bail.
He told the court that the accused persons have been in custody for some time and needed to be given bail to enable them to prepare themselves adequately ahead of the trial.
Chief Inspector Ernest Agbo, prosecuting, opposed the application of bail, arguing it is in the interest of the accused persons to be in custody until further investigation.
He said they were still working hard to ascertain the true ages of the boys and needed some time to be able to do so.
The magistrate in granting the request of the prosecution, ordered the police to speed up with the investigation to ascertain the correct ages of the accused persons.
The counsel after the proceedings said he will go to the high court for a bail if the lower court continues to deny the suspects bail.
On April 8, the Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Justice directed the Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service to expedite investigations into the case of the Kasoa juveniles.
The AG had said in the directive that it was important to ascertain the true ages of the accused persons to determine whether they should head for a juvenile court or otherwise, without any delay.
It came on the heels of a raging confusion over whether or not the accused persons are juveniles or adults, with the public proffering various theories in that regard.
The CID, the AG demanded, “should endeavour to adhere to the contents hereof to ensure an effective handling of the case in order to vindicate the confidence of the public”, and reminded the CID Chief about the need to adhere to the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2003 (Act 653).
Interview Of Juveniles
Mr. Dame especially referred the CID to the section regarding the interview of juveniles as covered by Section 13 which as he pointed out, should be restricted to a juvenile court and a court of summary jurisdiction as in Section 17.
The key areas the AG wants the CID Chief to consider in the ongoing investigations are the sections in the law concerning presumption and determination of the ages of the suspects, appearance in court and bail, remand of a juvenile and the mandatory stipulation for an expeditious hearing in the case of a juvenile charged with an offence as it appears in Section 33 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2003.
The AG also reminded the CID Chief about the requirements of Section 120 of the Evidence Act, 1975, NRCD 323 relating to confessions.
The murder of the eleven-year-old boy stunned the nation when graphic pictures of the deceased in the midst of an angry crowd being prevented by the police from lynching the teenagers went viral on social media and on mainstream television.
Nyarko is said to have been enthralled by television commercials about spiritualists who could make people instant billionaires.
He narrated the story to his friend Kini, who recommended a spiritualist who could be valuable in that regard.
Not having a mobile phone himself, Kini provided the contact number of the spiritualist and Nyarko went ahead to use his mother’s phone to contact the spiritualist.
The spiritualist allegedly demanded a human being and an amount of GH¢5,000 for the spiritual procedure to make them instant billionaires.
The Easter Holidays was the time the duo settled on Ishmael Mensah Abdallah, as the person to be used for the ritual.
Kini went to hide in an uncompleted building near Nyarko’s house for the planned ‘operation’ and the two armed themselves with a club and cement block.
Nyarko, who is a buddy of Ishmael Mensah Abdallah, made contact with him and convinced him to turn up at the uncompleted building where the second accused person had a video game for sale.
The initial plan of the accused was to kidnap the deceased and demand a ransom of GH¢5,000 after which they would move him to the fetish priest upon receipt of the said amount.
The initial plan did not make sense and informed their decision on the murder option, which they duly carried out using the club and cement block.
How They Killed
When Ishmael Mensah Abdallah showed up, Nicholas Kini, the second accused, used the club to hit his neck from the back.
Felix Nyarko, the first accused, followed up with a killer hit using the cement block on the head of the boy, killing him instantly.
The first accused person’s sister was said to have heard something unusual and decided to walk towards the source of the unusual noise.
She was turned away by her brother who did not want her to see what was happening.
After The Killing
The accused persons, after the act, buried the deceased awaiting nightfall so they could convey the body to the spiritualist.
Unfortunately for them, the first accused person’s sister, who was turned away earlier, reported to her father, Mr. Nyarko, that something unusual had taken place in the uncompleted building.
Mr. Nyarko, who is a step father to the first accused person, proceeded to the uncompleted building and discovered that the location had been interfered with.
Mr. Nyarko subsequently reported the case to the police who arrested the two teenagers.
In the ensuing heat, the police swooped on the fetish priestess, whose television advertisement allegedly ‘influenced’ two Kasoa teenagers to take the life of a boy.
Charity Mensah, who was arrested by the police at her shrine near Amanase in the Ayensuano District in the Eastern Region and later granted bail, admitted that the suspects contacted their shrine to undergo money rituals that would make them instant billionaires.
She told police interrogators that the teenagers called her on phone to make enquiries about a product they have been advertising called “Pocket no dry”, which is a charm supposedly making people perpetually wealthy.
Samed Akakilu, an uncle of the deceased, who has been speaking on behalf of the bereaved family, said in court yesterday that they still have the confidence that the police will do a thorough investigation and bring finality to the matter, and added that the police have been professional in their work so far.
“We lost Ishmael in a dastardly act and we know we are not going to get him back but we cannot take the law into our own hands and do what we like. We shall continue to trust in the police and the courts to dispense justice,” he said.
He, however, said that “Our only concern is that we were thinking by now the police should have been able to determine the ages of the suspects for the case to move expeditiously so that Ishmael will get the justice he deserves.”
By A.R. Gomda