The two young men, who robbed the West Hills Mall at Weija, near Accra, a month ago, were sentenced to a total of 50 years imprisonment by an Accra Circuit Court.
Steven Ayomba, 24, and Sule Jali, 20, will each serve 25 years.
They pleaded not guilty to four charges of conspiracy to commit crime, robbery, causing harm and unlawful entry but the prosecution proved their guilt and were convicted.
The court also heard that Ayomba had engaged in a similar robbery a couple of months ago but the case was struck out for want of prosecution.
In this case, the prosecution called the investigator, Detective Corporal Adjei Odame, a cinema operator at Silver Bird, West Hills Mall, and another staff as witnesses.
Ayomba, earlier told the court that he took the risk because he needed GH¢1,500 to pay the medical bills of his ailing pregnant wife.
Looking troubled, frightened and perplexed, the convicts were seen in the box gnashing their teeth and occasionally looking up as if they were calling for divine intervention, while their fate was decided.
That, however, did not save them as Justice Francis Obiri, a High Court Judge, sitting with additional responsibilities, held they did not deserve mercy.
“Mercy is shown to those who show mercy. The accused nearly killed the first witness,” Justice Obiri said, and added that the fact the robbery took place in broad day light meant Jali and Ayomba were daring, and therefore, deserved harsher sentence as a deterrent.
On the plea of not guilty prior to judgement, Justice Obiri said the decision was an afterthought.
“The position of the law is that when there is a contradiction in respect of pleas in accused persons evidence-in-chief and caution statement, the evidence-in-chief should not be taken,” Justice Obiri emphasised.
Prosecuting, Deputy Superintendent (DSP) Ernest Acheampong told the court that on May 24, this year, at about 3:45pm, the Greater Accra Regional Police Command received a distress call that a gang of armed robbers had invaded the Cinema Hall where the account office was also located, amidst firing of guns within the West Hills Mall at Weija, near Accra.
DSP Acheampong said the Police moved swiftly to the scene and managed to arrest Ayomba and Jali.
A foreign pistol with 10 rounds of ammunition, an empty shell and a pair of scissors were retrieved from them.
According to the prosecutor, Jali and Ayomba shot indiscriminately through the Cinema Hall and injured Frank Owusu and Albert Adomako, both staff of the Mall.
By Malik Sullemana