The trial of 14 persons suspected to have murdered the Dagbon King, Ya Na Yakubu Andani II opened in Accra on Tuesday with a new judge and jury.

All but one of the suspects were present in court and pleaded not guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit murder in March 2002.

The absentee suspect, Zakaria Yakubu alias Zakaria Forest who is thought to be on the run, faces a charge of murder.

Those in court were Iddrisu Iddi aka Mbadugu, Alhaji Baba Abdulai (Samasaman), Kwame Alhassan, Mohammed Abdulai, Saeed Mohammed, Alhassan Mohammed, Mohammed Habib Tujani (ex-DCE for Yendi) and Alhassan Braimah.

The rest are Mohammed Mustaphsa, Saani Moro, Yakubu Issifu, Ahmed Abukari Yussif as well as Abdul razak Yussifu.

Some of the suspects told the court they could not speak or understand English, however, a translator engaged to help the situation was not proficient in Dagbani. Justice E.K. Ayebi, the new judge now sitting on the case after Justice Justice Anthony Oppong recused himself following protestations of having made prejudicial comments on the case by the Attorney General’s office, adjourned to enable clerks secure the services of a qualified translator.

A seven member jury was also sworn in and warned not to allow themselves to be influenced by anything outside the court. They must depend on their conscience and all evidence adduced during the trial.

They were also cautioned not to discuss the case outside or hold meetings on the case outside the court with anyone.

The case has been adjourned to 9th September, 2010.

Story: Yaa Asantewaa