Court Strikes Out Deeba’s Extradition Appeal

DeebaThe extradition appeal filed by Ghanaian fugitive, Deeba Acheampong, was yesterday struck out by the Accra Fast Track High Court, following his extradition to the United Kingdom ahead of the hearing of the appeal.

Deeba, who is alleged to have raped his eight-year old step daughter in the UK, was challenging the extradition order but was surrendered to UK authorities two days after the appeal was filed.

Although his counsel indicated to the court they were still going to pursue the appeal, the court yesterday said that current events had overtaken the appeal and accordingly struck it out.

The court further asked Deeba’s counsel, Augustine Obour, to advice himself. After the court was informed on July 22, 2013 that Deeba had been extradited to the UK without recourse to appeal, the court ordered the Attorney General and the Director of Prisons to produce Deeba in court yesterday for the appeal proceedings.

However, when the case resumed yesterday and the judge, Edward Amoako Asante, asked the respondents of the whereabouts of Deeba, Senior State Attorney Comfort Tasiame told the court: “my lord, with respect, he is gone…He has been  surrendered”.

She argued that as far as they were concerned, there was no appeal pending before the court as they had, as at yesterday, not been served with any processes to that effect, saying, “even as we stand here, there have not been any appeal served on us”.
Ms. Tasiame said Mr. Obour threw dust into the eyes of the court and misled the Bench when he appeared before the court on July 17, 2013 to say that the A-G had been served with their appeal process.

She said they appeared before the court per the habeas corpus application issued by Deeba’s counsel and that they complied with the orders of the court in submitting to it the report on the extradition.

She said that on July 17, 2013 when they appeared in court, it emerged that there were no proof on the court records showing that Deeba had filed the appeal as directed by the court on July 11, 2013.

This, she said, forced the court to strike out the motion. She contended that after the court struck out the motion it became “funtus officio” (without authority), adding “as at now, there is nothing before my lord”.

The State Attorney further described the filing of the appeal as irregular. Responding, Mr. Obour said the appeal was properly filed on July 15 at 11:25 am and that “having filed it, we had nothing to do with it than to come to court on the next adjourned date to pursue it”.
According to him, he called one of the Attorneys handling the case to inform him about the filing of the appeal.

On the July 17, 2013, he said when he got to the court after the case had been struck out and the State Attorneys had left the court, he provided proof of the filing of the appeal to which the court rescinded the decision.
He said he informed the Attorneys about the development, however, during the night of that day, “they forced him (Deeba) out of his cell” and extradited him.

Deeba was on June 7, 2013, ordered by a District Magistrate in Accra to be extradited for prosecution on charges of rape, after it found, as a matter of fact, that a prima facie case has been made against him.

Dissatisfied with the extradition order which cleared him on the charge of assault, Deeba caused his lawyer to file a habeas corpus application, which they argued constituted an appeal in extradition cases.
The court, however, on July 11, 2013 rejected that argument, and directed Deeba’s counsel to file a proper appeal setting out the grounds by July 17, 2013.

Consequent to that, the appeal was filed on July 15, but when the court resumed on July 17, there was no proof of such on the court record, prompting the presiding judge to strike out the motion but after proof was provided by Mr. Obour that same day, the court rescinded the decision. The court thus ordered hearing notice to be served on State Attorneys handling the case, to appear on July 22, 2013 for the appeal to be heard.

However, when the court resumed that day at 11:45am, the State Attorneys were absent. Mr. Obour informed the court that “there has been certain developments since last week. They have taken the appellant away; we cannot understand why. He was forced out of his cell”.

He told the court that he was sure the development was the more reason why the State Attorneys failed to show up in court, adding “we will pursue this case,” and prayed the court to order the respondents to produce Deeba in court. According to counsel, Deeba had indicated to him that he would want to be present in court at the hearing of the appeal against the extradition order by the Magistrate Court.

Mr. Obour’s submission prompted the judge to issue the order for the respondents to produce Deeba in court on the next adjourned date of which was yesterday. -  Stephen Kwabena Effah

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