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General News of Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Source: GNA

Court gives Judgment in Tsatsu's appeal on Thursday


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Accra, Dec. 16, GNA - The Court of Appeal will on December 18 deliver its judgment in an Appeal Application filed by Tsatsu Tsikata, former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), against a decision by an Accra Fast Track Court which convicted and imprisoned him.

Mrs. Justice Mariama Owusu presides over the three-member panel with Mr Justice P. K. Gyaesaayor and Mr Justice Kobena Acquaye as other members.

Tsatsu was on admission at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital when the case came up for hearing and so he could not come to court. However, his lawyer, Professor Emmanuel Victor Oware Dankwa and some family members and sympathizers, including Captain Kojo Tsikata (rtd), Mr Fui Tsikata and Dr Kofi Awoonor, were in court, in solidarity. The essence of Tsatsu's Appeal is to have the Appeal Court reverse the determination made by the trial judge, Mrs Justice Henrietta Abban on June 18 that she was competent to hear the motion for bail in spite of the pending allegations of bias levelled against her.

In his statement of case, Tsatsu is saying that the trial judge cannot be a judge in her own cause, by deciding that she is not disqualified by bias from hearing the application for bail. Tsatsu said Mrs Justice Abban erred in her constitutional duty to be fair and candid with the exercise of discretionary powers, by failing to make available her judgment to Tsatsu and yet expected him to proceed with his application for bail.

It is Tsatsu's conviction that the trial judge should have adjourned proceedings for his complaint of bias to be first determined and by another judge.

Moreover, it is Tsatsu's conviction that Mrs Justice Abban should not have proceeded with the bail application when allegations of bias against her were pending.

It is his submission that the decisions of the trial judge on July 30 should be set aside by the Court of Appeal and the application for bail pending appeal is restored.

The Attorney-General's argument is that no substantial miscarriage of justice actually occurred when on July 30 the trial judge dismissed Tsatsu's motion for bail pending appeal.

The A-G submits that contrary to constitutional requirements, Tsatsu refused to move his motion for bail when he was required to do so.

The A-G contends that in trying to strike out the said application, the learned trial judge was only doing what was expected of her as a judge, and could not have been said "to be biased, arbitrary and capricious".

The A-G therefore prayed the court to dismiss Tsatsu's Appeal Application as being frivolous and unmeritorious.

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