Eric Kojo Duah, the 37-year-old man responsible for the tragic shooting of two uniformed police officers on duty at Buduburam near Kasoa in 2019, has been sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment with hard labor by a High Court in Accra. The sentence followed a plea bargain negotiation between the accused and the Office of the Attorney General.
Originally charged with two counts of murder, Duah had pleaded not guilty, and the prosecution had begun presenting its case, including calling the first witness. However, on October 31, 2023, Duah’s lawyer, Augustine’s Obour, informed the court of his client’s willingness to plead guilty to the lesser offense of manslaughter as part of the negotiated agreement with the prosecution. This resulted in a change in his plea from not guilty to guilty for two counts of manslaughter, while he maintained his plea of not guilty for the charges of murder.
Presiding over the case, Justice Marie-Louise Simmons ensured Duah fully understood the consequences of his decision and if his lawyer had explained it to him. Duah affirmed his understanding, leading to his conviction based on his guilty plea.
In a plea for mitigation, Duah’s counsel, Mr. Obuor, urged the court to consider a shorter sentence, emphasizing that Duah was a first-time offender and had been a responsible citizen prior to the incident. He argued that his client had learned his lesson.
Nana Ama Prempeh, a Senior State Attorney from the Office of the Attorney General, expressed relief that the convict had admitted to killing two police officers who were in the line of duty. She emphasized the gravity of the offense and urged the court to impose a sentence that would serve as a strong deterrent to potential offenders. She also requested that the sentence take effect from the date of the conviction, despite the time Duah had already spent in custody.
Justice Simmons, in her sentencing, noted the absence of remorse from the convict throughout the duration of the case. She characterized the nature of the offense as a threat to public safety and security, emphasizing the disrespect for authority displayed when a civilian shot two policemen on the street. She considered the public interest and the sentencing guidelines, ultimately imposing a 20-year imprisonment term on two counts of manslaughter to run concurrently.
Justice Simmons expressed dissatisfaction with the Ghana Police Service’s lack of interest in the case since she took over.
The sentencing of Eric Kojo Duah sends a clear message about the severity of his actions and underscores the importance of upholding the law and respecting those who serve to protect the community.