George Bernard Shaw, one of the lawyers defending the 14 persons accused of killing Major Maxwell Adam Mahama, has expressed fear for his life after he was nearly attacked in court.
On Monday, November 14, Mr Shaw was confronted by a man said to be an uncle of Major Mahama for defending the accused persons.
Amidst insults and curses, the man kept asking Mr Shaw why he would defend such persons.
The visibly angry man took issues with Mr Shaw during his final address to the jury, during which he impressed on the jurors not to convict William Baah, the Assembly Man for Denkyira Obuasi at the time Major Mahama was killed.
Counsel had told the jury that no evidence had directly or indirectly linked Baah to the lynching of Major Mahama or inciting others to lynch the military officer.
After the court hearing, and while Mr Shaw was having a conference with his clients before they were transported to Nsawam Prison to be in remand custody, the said uncle of Major Mahama confronted him with a fist.
It took the intervention of police officers in the courtroom to prevent the man from physically attacking Lawyer Shaw.
Lawyer Shaw told the media that the incident had sent shivers down his spine and revived his fear for his life, which started in 2017 after his car was vandalised in Cape Coast when he decided to defend the accused persons at the Cape Coast District Court.
“On the first day we started the case at Cape Coast in 2017, my car was vandalised and we were peddled with stones,” he said.
He said it was unfortunate that in this age of democratic and constitutional rule, people still took issues with lawyers performing their sacred duty of ensuring that people accused of crimes were adequately defended to protect their fundamental human right to a fair trial.
“People must understand that the constitution prescribes presumption of innocence, right to counsel and other basic human rights to fair trial to ensure that everybody charged with a crime goes through a due process,” he said.
According to him, lawyers must be given the space to adequately defend their clients as required by law.
“We fearlessly defend people and we have to work this way because anyone could be accused of a crime.
If people accused of crime do not get representation, then there will be chaos in society,” he said.
Meanwhile, when the incident came to her attention, the judge presiding over the trial directed her security detail to escort and walk Mr Shaw to his car anytime he came to court to prevent a repeat of the incident.
Justice Mariama Owusu, a Justice of the Supreme Court sitting as a High Court judge, said people must understand that the right to a lawyer and, in effect, the right to be heard, was a fundamental principle of fair trial that governs the justice delivery system.
Major Mahama was a captain, who led a 31-member military team deployed to the Central Region on an anti-galamsey mission.
He was lynched in May 2017 at Denkyira–Obuasi, now New Obuasi, in the Central Region.
William Baah, the then Assembly member for the area, is standing trial for abetment of murder while the other 13 are facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder and substantive charge of murder.
They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges and have been in prison custody since the commencement of the trial in 2018.
The other accused persons are Bernard Asamoah, alias Daddy; Kofi Nyame aka Abortion; Charles Kwaning aka Akwasi Boah; Kwame Tuffour; Joseph Appiah Kubi; Michael Anim; Bismarck Donkor; John Bosie; Akwasi Asante; Charles Kwaning; Emmanuel Badu; Bismarck Abanga and Kwadwo Anima.