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General News of Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Source: Class FM

Supreme Court throws out Afoko

The Supreme Court has, in a unanimous decision, dismissed a writ filed by the family of Mr Gregory Afoko, one of the suspects in the murder of the Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Alhaji Adam Mahama in 2015, challenging the Attorney General for discontinuing his trial at the High Court.

The AG, on 28 January 2019 filed a nolle prosequi to discontinue the trial following the arrest of one other suspect, Asabke Alangdi, who had been on the run since the incident occurred in 2015.

Afoko and Alangdi were then put before the Accra Central District Court on provisional charges of conspiracy to commit murder and murder, for committal proceedings – a prelude to the trial at the High Court.

But in a writ that invoked the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, Mr Afoko sought a declaration that the nolle prosequi filed by the AG was a violation of Articles 23 and 296 of the 1992 Constitution and, therefore, “unconstitutional, null and void”.

Article 23 imposes a duty on administrative bodies to “act fairly, reasonably and comply with the requirement imposed on them by law”, while Article 296 stipulates that persons or bodies vested with a discretionary power shall not exercise that discretionary power arbitrarily or capriciously.

Mr Afoko also sought an order nullifying the nolle prosequi and for “the High Court to continue to hear the case to its legal conclusion”.

The apex court, in dismissing the writ, said the Attorney General had the mandate to enter into a nolle prosiquai to discontinue a case if need be.

The SC stated that Section 54, Act 30 of the 1992 Constitution is inherent and accordingly dismissed the writ.

Again, the court argued that the accused person has been in lawful custody since his arrest.

The justices further said that the plaintiff failed to show any evidence of unfairness, arbitrariness and bias in their writ.

The court advised the Attorney General to make recommendations or lay before Parliament regulations regarding the filing of nolle prosiquai and also publish same to serve as a guide.

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