The convict, Kofi Seidu. Inset: The murdered British Missionary, Reverend Sidney Barnes
An Accra High Court has sentenced Kofi Seidu, a driver and a farm manager, who murdered and buried a British Missionary in an old farm at Nsawam in 2010, to death by hanging.
This was after a seven member jury unanimously returned a verdict of guilty on him in respect of the charge of murder.
However, on the charge of conspiracy to commit crime namely murder levelled against Seidu and Reverend Goodwill Padmore, an in- law of Reverend Sidney Barnes, the deceased, the jury unanimously returned a verdict of not guilty on them.
The Court, therefore, acquitted and discharged them on the charge of conspiracy.
Seidu who is to be hanged on the charge of murder, has 30 days to appeal against his conviction.
Mr Augustines Obuor, who represented the two, prayed the Court presided over by Mr Justice Iddrisu Abdullai for compensation of GH¢500,000, since Rev. Padmore had been on remand for the past eight years.
According to Mr Obuor, Rev. Padmore, an educationist, while in custody had suffered a mild stroke and prayed the Court to take into consideration Article 14 (5) of the 1992 Constitution.
“I believe that justice would be served if the eight year period that his freedom was taken away from him, he is adequately compensated by the High Court, which is a court of justice.”
Defence Counsel said Rev. Padmore now 68 years, if given the GH¢500,000 compensation would be enough to cater for his pension considering the humiliation ahead of him in the society he was going live in.
Ms Elizabeth Sackeyfio, a Senior Attorney from the Attorney General’s Department was of the opinion that Rev. Padmore was not entitled to any compensation.
The trial judge in his ruling held that Rev. Padmore would have to justify his stand.
The Prosecution said the 75 year old deceased was a missionary attached to the Calvary Chapel in the United States of America.
Prosecution said in 1997, the deceased came to Ghana as a missionary and established the Crossroads Christian Mission Incorporated in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
He also established Prestige Secretarial and Computer School, Koforidua and owned Manna Missions Farms at Akwamu Amanfo, near Nsawam.
Prosecution said the deceased Rev Barnes, employed Seidu as a driver and farm manager and Rev. Padmore as the Principal of the Computer and Secretarial School in Koforidua.
Sometime in December 2009, the deceased took his leave and travelled to the USA on holidays but he constantly communicated with his employees, especially Rev. Padmore.
On March 10, 2009, the prosecution said the deceased informed Rev Padmore that he would be returning to Ghana on March 18, 2010 on board a British Airways Flight.
The deceased therefore, asked Rev. Padmore to inform Seidu to pick him up at the airport in the evening of March 18.
On that day, Rev. Padmore instructed Seidu to pick the deceased up but later on Seidu called to inform Rev. Padmore that the deceased Rev Barnes was nowhere to be found as he was not among the passengers on board the British Airways Flight.
Prosecution said from that time, the two accused persons did not receive any information on the deceased.
However, in May 2010, friends and partners of the deceased in the US became worried about the well-being of the Rev Barnes (the deceased) because they had lost contact with him since he left the US.
The prosecution said through the efforts of the deceased’s friend one Donne Pouguini, a Ghanaian who lived at Nkawkaw in the Eastern Region; they managed to get in touch with the deceased’s church in Koforidua, where he met the accused.
She said the accused informed Pouguini that they had also lost contact with the deceased.
In June 2010, Pouguini managed to get the two accused to accompany him to Accra to lodge a complainant with the Police, who in turn commenced investigations with publications searching for Reverend Sidney Barnes (the deceased).
During the investigations, it was revealed that the deceased flew from USA to London with electronic ticket number 1257465295192. The deceased also arrived in London and checked in at Comfort Hotel at Heathrow.
The deceased however, left on March 18, 2010 using the same ticket to board British Airways Flight to Ghana.
Enquiries at the Ghana Immigration Service indicated that the deceased checked out at about 10:03 pm.
Based on that, prosecution said Seidu was therefore picked up by the Police on September 26, 2010 where he denied ever picking the deceased from the airport.
On October 4, 2010, Seidu confessed that the deceased had been killed, adding, he was persuaded by Rev. Padmore to kill the deceased in order to take away all the money the deceased was bringing from USA.
Seidu, the prosecution said, mentioned that he found 3,000 dollars on the deceased which he gave to Rev Padmore, who gave him (Seidu) half of the amount.
On October 11, 2010, Seidu led a team of pathologists and Police investigators to Manna Missions Farms at Nsawam where he had buried the deceased and the body was exhumed and sent to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital for autopsy.
On October 13, 2010, autopsy conducted indicated that the deceased died of multiple stab injuries.
Prosecution called five witnesses to make their case during the trial which commenced on January 15, 2015.
Summing up, the Court noted that prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence and confession statement of Seidu.
According to the Court during the trial it was made known through a prosecution witness that Seidu apologised to Rev. Padmore for involving him in the crime.
Seidu, the Court said also took the deceased’s laptop to a witness to repair and whiles the said witness was going to see him (Seidu) off he realised that the windscreen of the deceased’s vehicle were broken.
When the witness quizzed Seidu, the Court said Seidu informed the witness that Rev. Barnes was on admission following an accident.
According to the court, during the trial, it came to light that Seidu took Rev. Barnes’ blood stain vehicle and offered same for sale for a fee of GH 3,500 cedis to a mechanic who also testified in the matter.
It noted that a Pathologist report established the cause of death of Rev. Barnes to multiple stab injuries.
The Court noted that the prosecution in proving their case ought to establish that Rev. Barnes was dead, his death was caused by harm, the harm was intentional, and that the harm was unlawful.
This, the court noted, was proved by prosecution beyond reasonable doubt.