The Criminal Division “3” of the Accra High Court will on June 1, 2023, rule on a bail application filed by lawyers for Gregory Afoko.
Afoko is standing trial for the alleged murder of the late Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Adams Mahama, in 2015.
His lead counsel, Stephen Sowah Charway, moved the motion yesterday, before the court presided over by Justice Louise Simmons, arguing that Afoko had been in custody since the commencement of the trial in 2015.
Mr Charway told the court that in retrial of the case in 2019, his client was granted bail, but he (client) was kept in custody although he satisfied all the bail conditions.
On April 27, this year, a seven member jury returned a 4-3 not guilty in favour of Afoko, whose alleged accomplice, Alangdi Asabkeb, was sentenced to death after the jury found him guilty of conspiracy to commit crime and murder.
Pursuant to the law, the trial judge, Justice Mrs Afua Merley Wood, a Court of Appeal Judge, sitting with additional responsibility ordered the retrial of Afoko.
Counsel submitted that the continuous detention of the applicant is “unfair, is without any justification and is unconscionable.”
Mr Charway reminded the court that there is a constitutional right to bail of an accused person clearly stated in Article 14(4) of the 1992 Constitution.
Counsel argued that, while he has been in detention, the applicant has not behaved in any rebellious way or whatsoever.
The applicant, he said, had no previous conviction before his arrest eight years ago on May 21, 2015, as his guilt has not been proven.
The prosecutor, Ms Elorm Jonny, stated that, although Afoko was granted bail sometime in 2019, he was not able to fulfil all bail conditions and that was why he was still in lawful custody.
“We want to set the record straight that even though the constitution guarantees personal liberty, the same constitution has spelt out situations where that liberty can be curtailed and one of them is detention pending trial,” she said.
She said Afoko was currently in lawful custody and that there has not been an unreasonable delay in the case as the first trial was
truncated because Asabke Alangdi, who was on the run, had been arrested.
Ms Jonny said it was only proper that the case started De Novo since accused were charged with conspiracy.
“We have followed due process and as at now, we are ready to go in (retrial) but we have to be assigned by the Chief Justice.
“Our witnesses are ready and they are eager to testify again,” and “as at now it is only the applicant so the case will go expeditiously. We are assuring the applicant that he will be prosecuted within a reasonable time.”
Ms Jonny said “we are submitting that when granted bail, he will not appear to stand trial due to the severity of the trial.”
BY MALIK SULLEMANA