Kasoa Cop’s ‘Killer’ Sentenced To 20 Years
In a landmark decision, Eric Kojo Duah, the man accused of the heinous murder of two police officers on the Kasoa-Budumburam-Accra stretch in August 2019, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. This verdict comes after an agreement with the state under the Plea Bargaining law, where Duah pleaded guilty to manslaughter instead of murder.
On that fateful day, General Lance Corporal Mohammed Awal and Lance Corporal Michael Dzamesi lost their lives in the line of duty when Eric Kojo Duah allegedly shot and killed them. While Duah initially denied the charges of murder, he later decided to plead guilty to manslaughter, hoping for a more lenient sentence.
Eric Kojo Duah’s decision to plead guilty to manslaughter was part of a plea bargaining agreement with the prosecution. He sought a reduced sentence of 10 years for manslaughter rather than the harsher punishment for murder. However, after his conviction, Justice Marie-Louise Simmons handed down a 20-year prison sentence for each count, albeit to be served concurrently, meaning Duah will spend a total of 20 years behind bars.
In a significant development, lawyers for Kojo Duah, led by Augustine Obour, formally presented the plea agreement to the court on October 31, 2023. They humbly requested that their client be allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter, as per the agreed terms with the prosecution. The defence emphasized their client’s willingness to accept the 10-year sentence for manslaughter.
Nana Ama Prempeh, Senior State Attorney, confirmed that the prosecution had been approached by Duah’s counsel regarding the change of plea to manslaughter. She informed the court that they were not opposed to this request, marking a significant shift in the case.
In a courtroom filled with anticipation, Eric Kojo Duah entered his pleas. He maintained his innocence on the murder charges but expressed his guilt for two counts of manslaughter. This pivotal moment in the courtroom sealed his fate.
Following Duah’s conviction, his lawyer, Augustine Obour, appealed for leniency in the sentencing. Obour emphasized that his client was a first-time offender and had learned from his time in custody. Duah had been in custody from August 2019 to October 31, 2023. Before the incident, he had been a law-abiding citizen, making significant contributions to society.
Obour implored the court to consider Duah’s rehabilitation and the possibility of his return to society as a responsible citizen. He highlighted that the convict had shown genuine remorse for his actions.
On the other side of the courtroom, Nana Ama Prempeh argued that the severity of the crime demanded a corresponding punishment. She pointed out that Duah’s admission to killing two police officers in the line of duty was a grave offence that should serve as a strong deterrent to others.
The state attorney urged the court to impose a sentence that reflected the gravity of the crime, emphasizing that the punishment should begin from the date of sentencing, irrespective of the time Duah had already spent in custody.
Despite their differences, counsel for the convict revealed that efforts had been made to engage the families of the deceased officers in reconciliation. Unfortunately, no agreement had been reached. However, Duah’s legal team expressed their intention to independently engage with the children of the deceased to provide support once their sentence was served.
During the proceedings, a family member of the deceased officers, Peter Koku Dzamesi, spoke before the court. He shared that the family had considered a plea for forgiveness but hadn’t received a response. Their offer was directed towards the six children left behind by the deceased officers. Plans were underway to work with the police service to provide for these children.
Justice Marie-Louise Simmons, in delivering the sentence, took into account various factors, including the principles of sentencing and the time Duah had spent in custody. While acknowledging that Duah was a first-time offender, the judge stressed the lack of remorse displayed by the convict during the trial.
The court deemed the act of shooting two police officers on a public street as a threat to public safety and security. The judge emphasized the need to consider the public interest, making reference to previous legal cases.
In the end, Eric Kojo Duah was sentenced to 20 years in prison for each count of manslaughter, with the sentences to run concurrently. This means he will serve a total of 20 years in jail. The judge expressed dissatisfaction with the Ghana Police Service’s handling of the case and reiterated the convict’s right to appeal.
The verdict marks a significant moment in the pursuit of justice for the fallen officers and their families. It serves as a reminder that the law is just, and accountability is paramount, even in the most challenging cases.