Bismark Ato Foster, a former contestant in the reality show TV3 Mentor, has been convicted of manslaughter by a seven-member jury after a case that lasted seven years.
Foster was charged with murder and the use of an offensive weapon 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.
Initially, the jury returned a 6-1 guilty verdict for both charges, but after further deliberations, Foster was found 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.
He also received a 25-year sentence for the use of the offensive weapon, to be served concurrently.
During the trial, Foster's defence counsel appealed for mitigation, citing his client's status as a first-time offender.
The defence highlighted Foster's respectful conduct throughout the trial and his consistent presence in court.
They emphasized Foster's young age, and promising future, and portrayed him as a victim of circumstances, arguing that the death of the deceased was unintentional and requesting a minimum punishment.
However, the prosecution opposed the plea for mitigation, stating that the offence was serious and warranted the maximum punishment of life imprisonment as a deterrent to others. They pointed out that the gun had been fired twice, suggesting intent.
After considering arguments from both sides, Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzu sentenced Foster to life imprisonment.
Foster's lawyers have expressed their intention to appeal against the conviction and subsequent sentencing.
Bismark Ato Foster
According to the case's brief facts, the complainant, Ebenezer Ekow Ayaim, owned two plots of land at Nungua Coco Beach.
Foster, the accused, was known to Ayaim as someone who occasionally trespassed on his undeveloped plot without permission.
After Ayaim complained to the police, an officer recommended that Foster and the deceased, Razak, 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, and Ayaim discovered Razak's lifeless body and Foster's colleague, Stephen Ansah, with a bleeding arm. The police were called, and Ansah was taken 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, corroborating the events leading to the fatal shooting.
Detective Chief Inspector Osei Yeboah, who led the investigation, provided additional evidence and confirmed Foster's arrest.
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.