An Accra High Court yesterday dismissed a motion seeking to stay proceedings in the case, in which two executives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) are charged with conspiracy to commit crime and assault on public officers.
Counsel for Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, the Chairman of the NDC and the first accused, has told the court presided by Justice Samuel Asiedu that he had filed an appeal to challenge ruling of the high court to adopt the witness statement of Benjamin Ampofo Adjei on January 28, 2020, and asked the court to adjourn the case to abide by the outcome of the process he filed in court.
But ruling on the application, Justice Samuel Asiedu, a Court of Appeal Judge, sitting with additional responsibility as a high court judge held that the mere filing of an appeal does not warrant stay of proceedings.
He said the applicant must establish serious questions of law and facts to show that the appeal may succeed.
The judge said he was of the considered view that the applicant has failed to raise serious questions of law, neither was he able to disclose exceptional circumstance for the court to exercise its discretion in his favour.
The motion for stay of proceedings was accordingly dismissed as the judge held that it would rail road the trial.
Mr Tony Lithur moved his motion for stay of proceedings stating that the court erred when it adopted a statement the first witness disavowed.
He argued that the admission of the witness statement would be prejudicial as the witness was “very key to the outcome of the case”.
Mr Lithur averred that the adoption of the witness statement would compel the witness to testify in a manner that is against due process.
It the case of the defendant that the fact that his counsel has the opportunity to cross-examine the witness does not cure procedural errors.
Mr Asiamah Sampong, a Chief State Attorney, opposed the motion for stay of proceedings, and said it was frivolous and unmeritorious.
He said the accused had no right to object the tendering of the witness statment having failed to do so at Case Management Conference (CMC).
Mr Ampofo and Mr Kweku Boahen, a Deputy Communications Officer of the party, were said to have been secretly recorded on their plot of attack the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and the Chairman of the National Peace Council, in an audio, which has since gone viral.
The accused had pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit crime and harm on public officers and are currently on GH¢100,000 bail each, with a surety.
The trial of the duo was set to begin on July 8, 2019. However, Mr Asiamah Sampong, a senior state attorney, then prosecuting, told the court that the witness was indisposed.
The facts are that the accused were arraigned on April 16 for allegedly inciting communicators of the party to attack the chairperson of the Electoral Commission, and the chairman of the National Peace Council.
Mr Tony Lithur, counsel for Mr Ampofo, told the court that his client could not speak about the alleged leaked tape because it was doctored.
He said the invasion of his client’s privacy relates to the constitutional breach of Mr Ampofo’s rights.
Dr Bamba said his client denied the charges filed against him, and added that Mr Boahen was innocent until proven guilty by the court.
The case has been adjourned to February 27, 2020.
BY MALIK SULLEMANA