Court urged to send Antwi for psychiatric scrutiny

•   Dr. Akwasi Osei

• Dr. Akwasi Osei

Dr Akwasi Osei, Acting Chief Executive of the Mental Health Authority, yesterday appealed to an Accra human rights high court to authorise the Accra Psychiatric Hospital to examine the mental status of Charles Antwi who was convicted for unlawful possession of firearms.

He said subjecting the 37-year-old convict to medical examination was the only way to determine whether to keep him (Antwi) in prison custody or in the psychiatry.

“My Lord, in his current state, we pray that he should be brought to the psychiatric hospital for the experts to examine and determine whether he should remain in the hospital or prison custody,” Dr. Osei appealed when the presiding judge, Justice K.A Okwabi sought his opinion on whether to keep Antwi in prison custody or otherwise pending the determination of a suit against the sentence and conviction of Antwi.

While the Attorney-General is praying for a re-trial through an appeal to enable it adduce fresh evidence, a private legal practitioner, Francis Xaxier Sosu, want the Human Rights Court to quash the circuit court’s judgement through a certiorari.

The judge has set August 31, 2015, to rule on the application.

Mr. Sosu is also seeking to invoke the supervisory jurisdiction of the high court to cause the examination of Antwi to mental health treatment under the Mental Health Tribunal or the supervision of the court in accordance with Article 34 of the 1992 Constitution.

Making arguments for and against the motion, both the applicant and the respondents agreed that the 10-year sentence handed the convict by the circuit court was erroneous.

The point of disagreement is basically centered on whether an appeal or certiorari is best possible remedial procedure to cure the error committed by the circuit court.

Mrs. Evelyn Keelson, a principal state attorney held that setting aside the verdict of the circuit court through a certiorari meant the beginning of the entire process.

She said the Attorney-General’s Department had filed an appeal at the Appeals Court and were being asked to make their submission in September.

On July 26, 2015, Antwi, a native of Dadiesoaba, in the Brong-Ahafo Region was seen fidgeting on a seat at the Ringway Assemblies of God Church at Osu, Accra, where the first family fellowship.

A member of the congregation alerted the security and when a search was conducted on him, a locally manufactured pistol with two rounds of ammunition was found on him.

Antwi was subsequently arrested to assist in investigations.

In the course of the interrogation, he admitted ownership of the gun which he had bought from a Burkinabe in Nkoranza in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

He was put before court two days later and handed a 10-year jail term in hard labour after confessing that he had wanted to kill President Mahama.

His conviction sparked criticisms of the presiding judge in the media and other social media platforms, culminating in the appeal against the verdict.

By Malik Sullemana  

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