Order to start Opuni case afresh unfair – A-G to court

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice has appealed against the decision by the Accra High Court to start afresh the trial of Dr Stephen KwabenaOpuni, a former Chief Executive of Ghana COCOBOD.

DrOpuni is standing trial together with SeiduAgongo, the Managing Director of Agricult Ghana Limited in a fertiliser deal. 

In a ruling on April 4, Justice Kwasi A. Gyimah, the newly appointed judge who took over from Justice ClemenceHonyenugah, now retired, stated he would conduct fresh proceedings into the case.

Justice Gyimah said he does not want to be saddled with the suspicions and allegations associated with the case.

But the Attorney General hold the view that the decision of the trial judge to start the trial afresh had occasioned a miscarriage of justice as it will hinder an efficient trial of the accused persons in the instant case.

 He stated that the trial judge erred in forming that opinion because the Supreme Court had already dealt with the issue of allegations and suspicions. 

“The learned trial judge exercised his discretion wrongly in arriving at a conclusion that, he will be “saddled with the same suspicions and allegations of unfairness levelled against the current state of proceedings”, which have already been dealt with by the Supreme Court.”

The Attorney General stated that the trial judge misdirected himself in the application of the principles regarding adoption of evidence in a trial.

He said the holding that, a decision to adopt evidence in the matter amounts to “adopting every act and decision that has been taken by the previous judge,” failed to consider that the material factoring adoption of evidence is the evidence properly so-called led at the trial, and not other unrelated matters.

He said the judge ignored the point that the only motion pending before the trial court was an application for the previous judge to recuse himself which had been rendered moot by the judge’s retirement and subsequent placement of the case before the learned judge.

He said the judge in relying on irrelevant factors already disposed of by the Superior Courts, unfairly gave the accused persons a second bite at the cherry.

Attorney-General said the judge erred in ignoring the right and duty of the Republic to efficiently prosecute crime and placing premium on the presumption of innocence of the accused person.

The ruling of the court was contrary to the principles of fair trial contained in Article 19 of the Constitution and as decided by the Supreme Court in Republic v. Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie |2020\ Crim. Law Report 343.


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