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Jirapa Hotel CEO Murder Case: Court Postpones hearing to July 12

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The Wa High Court has postponed the hearing of Eric Johnson’s murder case, the former CEO of Royal Cosy Hills Hotel (also known as Jirapa Dubai), to July 12, 2024.

The presiding judge, Justice Abdul Yusif Assibey, explained that the adjournment allows Chief Justice Gertrude Tokornoo to conduct extensive consultations concerning the potential relocation of the trial from Wa to a High Court in Kumasi.

Justice Assibey noted that the Chief Justice’s office had been approached with numerous requests advocating for the case’s transfer, involving the Republic versus Elisha Mahama and two others, necessitating comprehensive consultations to reach a verdict.

He said his outfit had also written a situational report to the office of the CJ on the case pending a response.

The Chief Justice had served an order notice for the transfer of the case from Wa to a High Court in Kumasi.

This decision of the CJ had raised concerns among some people in the Upper West Region, especially Jirapa, for fear of a miscarriage of justice if the case was transferred.

Mr. Luanga Bagonluri, the lawyer for the second and third accused persons, told the court that he had petitioned the CJ against transferring the case from Wa to Kumasi and that justice could be better served if the case were tried in Wa.

Meanwhile, Mr Clement Eledi, a lawyer for the first accused person, said justice could be well-served if the case was transferred to Kumasi.

Mr. Saeed Abdul Shakuur, Principal State Attorney in the Upper West Region, raised concerns about the decision of the court to transfer the case since all witnesses in the case were in the Upper West Region.

He also raised concerns about the risk and cost implication of transporting the witnesses to and from Kumasi during court sittings if the case was eventually transferred.

Mr. Shakuur said per the laws of Ghana, it was only a Prosecutor or a State Attorney in a case who could request a case to be transferred.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Wa on Wednesday after the court proceeding, Mr. Cletus Dapilah, the Member of Parliament for Jirapa Constituency, said the people of Jirapa were not “happy with how the case is being handled.

“We feel very sad that a matter like this will have to be played with or toyed with by the Chief Justice,” he said.

Dr. Alex Bokumah, a native of Jirapa, said the people of Jirapa had also petitioned the CJ against the transfer of the case from Wa to Kumasi and questioned the reason for her delay in deciding on the matter.

“We think that powers are being used arbitrarily and capriciously and we are completely disgusted. We don’t think that is the right way to go,” he said.

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