In a case that has spanned seven years, Bismark Ato Foster, a former contestant of the television reality show “Mentor,” has been found guilty of manslaughter by a seven-member jury.
The charges against him included murder and the use of an offensive weapon, resulting in the death of Razak Mohammed at Nungua Coco-Beach on September 26, 2016.
Although Foster pleaded not guilty to both charges, the jury reached a verdict of guilt for manslaughter instead of murder.
The jury initially returned a 6-1 guilty verdict for both charges but, after further deliberations, found Foster guilty of manslaughter and the use of an offensive weapon.
Presiding over the case at Criminal Court ‘3,’ Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh sentenced Foster to life imprisonment, as recommended by the jury.
Additionally, he received a 25-year sentence for the use of the offensive weapon, with both punishments to be served concurrently.
During the trial, Foster’s defense counsel sought mitigation, appealing to the court’s mercy due to his client being a first-time offender.
The defense highlighted Foster’s proper conduct throughout the trial and his consistent presence whenever the case was called.
They emphasized Foster’s young age, promising future, and portrayed him as a victim of circumstances. The defense argued that the death of the deceased was unintentional and urged the judge to consider a minimum punishment.
However, the prosecution opposed the plea for mitigation, stating that the offense was grave and required the maximum punishment of life imprisonment to serve as a deterrent to others. They pointed out that the gun had been fired twice, suggesting intent.
Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzu, after hearing arguments from both sides, delivered a life sentence to Foster.
Mr. Foster’s lawyers have expressed their intention to appeal against the conviction and subsequent sentencing.
The case’s brief facts revealed that the complainant, Ebenezer Ekow Ayaim, had acquired two plots of land at Nungua Coco Beach.
The accused, Foster, was known to Ayaim as someone who occasionally trespassed on his undeveloped plot without permission.
Following Ayaim’s complaints to the police, an officer recommended Foster and the deceased, Razak, to supply sand and stones for the construction of a fence wall on the land.
On September 26, 2016, during an inspection of the land, a tragic incident occurred. Ayaim briefly went inside his house, leaving Razak and Foster outside. A gunshot was heard, leading Ayaim to witness Razak’s lifeless body and Foster’s colleague, Stephen Ansah, with a bleeding arm. The police were called for assistance, and Ansah was rushed to the hospital, but Razak was pronounced dead upon arrival.
The prosecution presented testimonies from witnesses, including the complainant, the building contractor, and a police officer, supporting the events leading to the tragic shooting.
Detective Chief Inspector Osei Yeboah, who headed the investigation, provided additional evidence and confirmed the arrest of Foster.
Ultimately, the Office of the Attorney General directed the charges of murder and the use of an offensive weapon against Foster, leading to his recent conviction and sentencing.