Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, the presiding judge of Criminal Court “5” Accra, yesterday abandoned her seat when the gun of a prison warden “accidentally” went off in courtroom during the trial of Canadian girls’ alleged kidnappers.
Other court attendants had to run in different direction for fear of their lives thereby bringing proceedings to a momentarily halt on the third floor of the Courts’ Complex in Accra.
The prison warden, a corporal whose name is yet to be known, was badly injured in the foot and taken to the Court Complex Clinic on the fifth floor for treatment.
The court manager, who pleaded anonymity, said the Ministry Police was informed about the incident.
Meanwhile, the Judicial Service in a statement signed and issued by Justice Cynthia Pamela A. Addo, the Judicial Secretary, assured the pubic that investigations were underway to prevent a recurrence.
It said that measures were also put in place to ensure the safety of stakeholders and court users.
“Management of the Judicial Service therefore, wishes to assure all stakeholders and the general public of their safety in and around the courts.”
It acknowledged that the incident was likely to cause fear and panic because it was the first time such an incident had occurred within the courts.
When contacted, the Head of Public Relations of the Ghana Prison Service (GPS) Chief Supt Courage Atsem, confirmed the incident to the Ghanaian Times.
He said preliminary investigations by the Prisons Operation team led by Supt Emmanuel Adomako had established that the weapon went off accidentally.
He said the officer handled the weapon professionally by pointing it downwards for which he was injured in the foot and currently receiving treatment.
“The officer is in a stable condition”, Chief Supt Atsem said.
When asked further on measures being taken to prevent similar incident in the future, Chief Supt Atsem said the Police Ballistic team would have to come out with a recommendation after investigations to establish the actual cause of the incident.
Four persons are currently standing trial for demanding $800,000 ransom from the parents of two Canadian girls they kidnapped in 2019.
They are Sampson Aghalor, also known as (alias) Romeo, Elvis Ojiyorwe, Yusif Yakubu and Jeff Omarsar had pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit crime, kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA