The hearing of the murder trial of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, the Overlord of Dagbon, is expected to come off Tuesday at the Accra Fast Track High Court.

A reliable court source told the Daily Graphic Monday that the new date had been fixed following the appointment of Mr Justice E. K. Ayebi, a Court of Appeal judge, as additional High Court judge to replace Justice Oppong, who was to hear the matter but recused himself after he was accused of making prejudicial comments on the matter.

Therefore, barring any last-minute hitch, the source said the matter would definitely be heard.

Last week, one of the lawyers for the 14 accused persons, Mr Kwame Akuffo, confirmed to the Daily Graphic that he had received a letter addressed to the Registrar of the High Court to the effect that Mr Justice Ayebi had been appointed to hear the matter.

According to Mr Akuffo, the letter, which was sent on the instructions of the Judicial Secretary, indicated that a new date would be fixed for the trial of the matter.

He told the Daily Graphic that as of last Wednesday, the defence had not received a hearing notice regarding the new date. However, they were prepared to appear anytime they were asked to.

Before he recused himself, Mr Justice Oppong accused the Deputy Attorney-General, Mr Ebo Barton-Odro, of calling him “a drunkard and irresponsible,” and challenged the deputy A-G to substantiate those allegations or render an unqualified apology to him.

But the Deputy Attorney-General declined to render any apology.

The judge’s action stemmed from the fact that the prosecution had, on the arraignment of the 14 suspects before the court on August 16, 2010, indicated that it would raise objection to the judge hearing the matter on grounds of bias.

All the 14 accused persons, except Zakaria Yakubu, who is at large, have made it to previous court appearances.

On June 28, 2010, six of them, namely Alhaji Baba Abdulai Iddrisu, aka Zohe, Kwame Alhassan, aka Achiri, Mohamadu Abdulai, aka Samasama, Sayibu Mohammed, Alhassan Braimah and Alhaji Mohammed Habib Tijani, 45, a former District Chief Executive (DCE) for Yendi were indicted at the Adjaberig Magisstrates’ Court in Accra.

Iddrisu Iddi, who was on admission at the Police Hospital in Accra at the last adjourned date, later appeared in court and was also committed to the High Court for trial.

And on July I5, 2010, the rest of the suspects were also committed for trial at the Accra High Court by the Adjabeng Magistrates’ Court.

They included Alhassan Mohammed, alias Mohammed Cheampon, Abukari Nabeli, aka Kunkakums or Kooms, Mohammed Mustapha, Yakubu Yusif, aka Leftee, Abdul Razak Yussif, aka Nyaa, and Shani Imaro.

Source: Daily Graphic