The Criminal Division of the Accra High Court has dismissed a consolidated application from lawyers of Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni and two others asking the court to Stay its Proceedings pending notice of appeal against his dismissal of submission of no case.
The court presided over by Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenugah, Justice of the Supreme Court, sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge said the applicants have not demonstrated any exceptional or special circumstances for which the Court should exercise its decretion in their favour.
The applicants, the court said did not state the rules under which their applications were premised on and the new CI132 of the Court of Appeal as amended do not allow the court to entertain such applications.
The court consequently dismissed the consolidated application and ordered Dr Opuni to mount the docket and open his defence on June 3.
Dr Opuni, Seidu Agongo, CEO of Agricult Ghana Limited are standing trial for wilfully causing financial loss to the state.
Samuel Codjoe, Counsel for Dr Opuni while moving the motion on notice for Stay of Proceedings pending the determination of appeal said the Court erred in dismissing his client’s submission of no case.
He argued that, the Court in dismissing their submission of no case, rejected exhibits 58 to 75 and that, the court’s basis for rejecting these exhibits according to the ruling was premised on Ekow Russle vs The Republic.
Counsel said, the Court erred in that, in the Ekow Russle
what is more is that, the court admitted and accepted similar and identical statement tendered through PW7 for example exhibits PP, LL & MM.
Based on that rejection, he said an exceptional circumstance has been raised for the court to stay its proceeings.
He added that, this is a criminal trial where the liberty of the individual is at stake and that, as was held in Ekow Russle case, it was better for 99 accused persons to sail through than one innocent person to be wrongly convicted.
He said, when it comes to Stay of Proceedings in criminal matters, the court has a discretion and prayed the court to exercise its secretion in their favour.
Counsel for Agongo and Agricult Ghana Limited, Emmanuel Kumadze, holding brief for Nutifafa Nutsufafa argued that, the need to convince the court that exceptional circumstances exist why the honourable court may consider exercising its description to consider this present application.
He reiterated that the Court’s rejection of exhibits 58 to 75 on grounds that they are tendering offended hearsay rules, constitute exceptional grounds for stay OF proceedings to be granted.
Mrs Evelyn Keelson, Chief State Attorney while opposing to the consolidated application argued that there is no law requiring the court to Stay Proceedings in the matter.
According to her, Constitutional Instrument (CI)132, the new Court of Appeal rule as amended has effectively taken of rule 27 of CI19 which permitted such stay of proceedings.
She argued further that, the applicants have not established any basis for the court should stay its proceedings because no special or exceptional circumstance has been raised.
Mrs Keelson argued that the applicants have not raised any issue about the court’s ruling but the only issue they have raised is rejection of exhibits.
She submitted that the Court has the power to disregard evidence which has been wrongfully admitted and the exhibits being talked about are clearly hearsay statements and section 118 clearly stated they are out of Court statements.
According to her, nothing was said to show why they were unavailable and that even if considered by the court do not in any way discredit the Case of the Prosecution.
She prayed the court to dismiss the application.
Source: Ghana/Starr fm.com.gh/Murtala Inusah