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Ghanaian musician sentenced to life imprisonment for manslaughter[Video]

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A Ghanaian Musician, Bismark Ato Foster  has been sentenced to life imprisonment after he was found guilty for manslaughter by a seven-member jury.

Bismark was charged for two counts namely; murder and use of offensive weapon which led to the death of one Razak Mohammed, at Nungua Coco-Beach on September 26, 2016.

Though he pleaded not guilty to the two charges, the jury found him guilty for manslaughter instead of murder, seven years after the incident.

The jury had returned a 6-1 guilty verdict against him for both charges but upon further deliberations, returned again with a guilty verdict against him for manslaughter and use of offensive weapon.

Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh, presiding at the Criminal Court ‘3’ accordingly imposed a life sentence on him after the jury were discharged.

For the charge of the use of offensive weapon, he was sentenced to 25 years, with both punishment set to run currently.

Plea for mitigation

With his plea for mitigation, his counsel had prayed the court to tamper justice with mercy and hand the convict with the minimum punishment since he was a first time offender.

Counsel also drew the court’s attention to the fact that the convict had properly conducted himself throughout the trial and was available anytime the case was called.

It was his prayer again that the convict is a very young man who has great future ahead of him and only became a victim of circumstance.

He said his client had shown remorse throughout the trial and the judge should use her motherly instinct to give him minimum punishment.

Counsel said the convict did not intentionally cause the death of the deceased as found by the jury and prayed that looking at his age, his demeanor through out the trial, the incident was purely accidental.

Counsel said, the convict was the only one left to protect the property of his family.


The plea for mitigation by the defence counsel was opposed by the prosecution.

It was the case of the prosecution that the offense committed is severe and should be given the maximum punishment of life imprisonment to serve as a deterrent to others.

The prosecution pointed out that the gun went off twice and that could not be said to be not intentional.

To this end the prosecution invited the court to impose the maximum sentence on the convict to serve as punitive measure to deter others accordingly.

Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzu after hearing the parties sentenced the convict into life in prison.

EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, who was in court reports that lawyers of the convict have indicated their intention to appeal against the conviction and the subsequent sentencing.

Brief facts

Per the summary of evidence to the jury, the complainant, Ebenezer Ekow Ayaim, who was the first prosecution witness is a businessman and he had acquired two plots of land at Nungua Coco Beach area.

According to him, he has been living on one plot with his family for the past 6 years whilst the other plot of land is undeveloped.

The complainant indicated that he knew the accused person because he occasionally weeds his undeveloped plot without his consent.

The complainant said following that he reported the incident to the police on about two occasions.

He, on September 24, 2016, again reported the incident to the police and two police officers followed him to the plot of land.

He said the police officers advised the complainant to build a fence wall around the undeveloped land and one of the police officers by name Caesar recommended the deceased, Razak Mohammed and his colleagues to supply the complainant with sand and stones for the construction of the fence wall.

The evidence indicated that the complainant contacted Razak and his colleagues and on September 26, 2016 at about 5:45 pm, they came to the complainant’s house to inspect the plot.

The complainant said he together with Razak and his colleagues went outside to inspect the plot of land but the complainant went back inside the house briefly to pick his slippers because he was then only wearing a pair of socks.

He, whilst in his house he heard a gunshot and quickly ran out to see Razak shot dead and one of his colleagues, Stephen Ansah’s arm bleeding.

The complainant said he called the police for assistance and rushed Stephen Ansah to the Police Hospital for treatment and later lodged a complaint at the Nungua Police Station.

Building contractor’s account

It was the case of Stephen Ansah, the building contractor, the second prosecution witness in the case that on September 24, 2016, he paid a visit to his police officer friend, Caesar at the Nungua police station.

He said, when he got to the station, Razak (now deceased) was also with Caesar and whilst at the Police Station, the complainant came to the station and reported that he had property he wanted to develop.

According to him, Caesar recommended him and the deceased to do the work and they visited the complainant in his house at Coco Beach Nungua, the following day at about 6pm and discussed the work they would be undertaking.

He said on Monday September 26, 2016 at about 6.00pm, he and the deceased went to the complainant’s house and they proceeded to the land to see where they would deposit the sand and stones to be used for the construction.

It was his case that they noticed someone had erected some boards on the land so they decided to remove them so that the vehicle that would deliver the sand and stones could have easy access to the land in order to deposit the sand and stones.

He said, whilst removing the boards, the accused person came out of his house and the accused person upon seeing them, went back into his house.


He said, a few minutes later, the accused person came out of his house holding a pump action gun and from a distance, fired at the deceased who fell on the ground.

He said he attempted to offer assistance to the now deceased who had been hit by the bullet by lifting him up and in the process of offering assistance, the accused person fired again and the shot hit his right arm.

The evidence of the contractor was that he ran towards the complainant’s house and the complainant rushed him to the 37 Military Hospital for treatment.

But, Razak was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Police officer’s account

A police officer, G/CPL Dei-Ofori Ceaser, who was the 3rd prosecution witness, told the Court that, on September 24, 2016 at about 11.30am, the Complainant made a complaint to him that someone was encroaching on his land.

He said he and one Chief Inspector, Kwame visited the land and met the accused person on the land but he was not doing anything criminal.

He added they left and went back to the police station after the complainant informed him that he wanted to develop the land.

He said, at that time, the deceased and one Kojo had visited him at the Police Station and heard the intention of the complainant to develop the land and they expressed interest in taking the contract to develop the said land.

CID’s evidence

It was the evidence of Detective Chief Inspector Osei Yeboah, stationed at the Kpeshie Divisional CID headquarters that on September 26, 2016, the case was referred to him for investigation.

According to him, on the same day, a team of police officers led by the crime officer Superintendent, Yaw Ohene-Takyi visited the crime scene at Nungua Coco-Beach.

He said, they found the body of a male adult aged about 46 years lying in a pool of blood in a prone position in between a house and a portion of land raised to footing level.

He said they inspected the body and a gunshot wound was found at the right part of the chest and the deceased’s body was identified by neighbors as Razak Mohammed.

According to him, photographs of the body of the deceased and the crime scene were taken and the body was conveyed to the Police Hospital mortuary for preservation and autopsy.

He said investigations led to the arrest of the accused person and statements taken from him.

The accused was eventually directed by the office of the Attorney General to charge the accused with murder and use of offensive weapon, which he did.

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