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General News of Thursday, 20 February 2020

Source: GNA

Ofosu-Ampofo’s trial: Court refuses to stay proceedings


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An Accra High Court on Wednesday refused an application to stay proceedings in the on-going trial of Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo and Anthony Kwaku Boahen pending an application against court’s adoption of the statement of the first Prosecution Witness (PW1).

The court has therefore asked the Prosecution to produce its next witness to testify, meanwhile, it has adjourned the trial to the 27 day of February, 2020.

Mr Ofosu-Ampofo, National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress and Boahen, Deputy Communications Director, of the party, are facing charges including, conspiracy to cause harm and assault on Professor Emmanuel Asante, Chairman of the National Peace Council and Madam Jean Mensa, the Electoral Commission chairperson.

They are on a GH¢100,000.00 bail each with a surety each.

Justice Samuel K. Asiedu in his ruling on the application, said it had become a common practice for lawyers to cite Rule 27 as their authority when applying for stay of proceedings.

He said the inherent power to stay proceedings applies to civil cases not criminal proceedings, adding that Rule 27 does not apply in criminal cases but falls under part two of the rules to civil cases brought before the Court of Appeal.

Justice Asiedu advised that fair and expeditious trial was key to criminal trials and asked that adjournments must be done only when necessary.

Mr Tony Lithur, counsel for Mr Ofosu-Ampofo had told the Court that the trial could only proceed if the automatic seven days pending the appeal to quash the admission of the witness statement by the Court had elapsed.

Mr Asiamah Sampong, an Attorney from the Attorney General’s Department (AG) in a rebuttal said on January 9, 2020, PW1 was sworn to give his evidence-in-chief.

He said PW1 identified the signature on the document as his and added that the fact that he said it was the first time of seeing it (the document) did not mean that he had objected to it, that was not what he meant, but the defense said that they did not admit the document in court.

Mr Sampong said at the Case Management Conference (CMC), the applicant did not object to its tendering and it was filed and supplied to applicants.

Mr Sampong said, if there was any objection, it should have been done during the CMC stage so therefore applicant has no right to object to the witness’ statement now.

It would be recalled that on January 31, 2019, a by-election was conducted at the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency as a result of the demise of its Member of Parliament.

Prosecution said there were disturbances in the course of the elections and on February 3, Mr Ofosu-Ampofo met the Party’s Communications Directors at its Headquarters located at Adabraka, a suburb of Accra.

According to the prosecution the meeting was recorded of which on that audiotape which was circulated later in a cross-section of the media, contained a set-up of a road-map of criminal activities targeted at the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Chairman of the National Peace Council.

Prosecution said the tape was intercepted by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Police Service.

The Prosecution said Ofosu-Ampofo on the audio also incited the communicators of the Party to molest both the EC and Peace Council Chairpersons.

The prosecution said that the orchestrated electoral violence plot was going to be attributed to the New Patriotic Party, which is the ruling Party.

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