The High Court, Criminal Court 5 Division has abandoned its initial move at trying the Kasoa teenagers accused of killing their playmate for ritual purposes, as adults.
The Court presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo said the accused teenagers will “most likely be tried summarily”.
On the evening of Saturday, April 3, 2021, the two boys, then aged 18 and 15 years, accordingly lured into an incomplete building in the Lamptey Mills suburb of Kasoa, and killed their 11-year-old victim, Ishmael Mensah Abdulai.
The accused persons were set to be tried as adults in the criminal court.
Potential jurors had been summoned and were present in Court on Thursday for selection, but after an in-chambers conference between the prosecution and defence lawyers, the judge changed the course of the trial.
Her Ladyship said that the Court was going to “empanel a jury for the trial” but “looking at the ages of the accused persons and considering the juvenile justice Act, it may not be necessary to have them tried by jury.”
Justice Marfo noted that “the oldest among them is still a young offender … and is likely to be sentenced to a maximum of 3 years under the Juvenile Justice Act” if found guilty of murder.
Under Juvenile Justice Act, 2003 (Act 653), an accused person who is, or above 18 years but less than 21 years is considered a young offender.
Such an offender is thus tried out of the eyes of the society with his/her identity protected.
To ensure the right mode of trial is complied with, Justice Lydia Osei Marfo adjourned the case “to enable this Court to set out the parameters for the trial.”
The case will thus be recalled on May 26, 2022, at 9am for case management conference.