The High Court in Accra has ordered the former National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel Ofosu Ampofo and a former Deputy Communications Officer, Anthony Kweku Boahen to open their defence to charges.
The two were charged in 2019 for the offence of conspiracy to cause harm following a leaked audio tape in which they were alleged to have plotted to harm the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission and the Peace Council Chairman.
Both are also separately facing a charge of assault on a public officer and have both pleaded not guilty and have been granted bail.
In the course of the trial, the Prosecution called three witnesses to give evidence towards the proof of their various charges. But, after the closure of the prosecution’s case, the accused persons through their lawyers each filed a submission of no case to answer on November 24, last year.
They contend that the prosecution witnesses were unable to prove the charges against them so the court should acquit and discharge them.
Ruling on the submission of no case on Thursday, January 26, Justice Samuel Asiedu, now a Justice of the Supreme Court sitting as an additional High Court judge said a prima facie case has been established against them by the prosecution.
According to the judge, there is evidence on the records in respect of the charges brought up against them and the court is satisfied that given the evidence before it, it is fit and proper that the accused persons are called upon to open their defence.
“The court has examined the evidence which have been placed before it by the prosecution vis-à-vis the charges which the accused persons are facing and the court has come to a conclusion that there is evidence on record in respect of the charges brought up against the accused persons.
“This is not the stage for the court to review the evidence and make pronouncements as to the guilt or innocence of the accused persons. The court is satisfied that given the evidence before it, it is fit and proper that the accused persons be called to enter upon their defence.
“In this regard the court adopts the statement of the law espoused in Asamoah and Another vs. The Republic (supra) to the effect that: ‘There is no rule of law or procedure which gives an accused person the automatic
right to make a submission of no case to answer at the close of the prosecution’s case in a criminal trial.
“In a summary trial, it is at the discretion of the Judge to
determine whether or not a prima facie case has been made out against the accused persons, having regard to the evidence adduced.
“Where there is cogent evidence against the accused a trial Judge did not have to waste time inviting counsel for the accused to make a submission of no case..An appellate court only has to ascertain whether at the close of evidence in support of the charge, a case was made out against the accused sufficiently to require him to open his defence.
“Furthermore, the standard of proof the prosecution bears at the stage of the trial before the appellants open their defence, is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. See Tsatsu Tsikata v The Republic [2003-2004] SCGLR 1068.”
“For the above reasons, the court said, “the submission of no case to answer is hereby overruled. The accused persons shall open their defence accordingly.”
The accused persons have been charged with the offence of conspiracy to cause harm contrary to sections 23(1) and 69 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960, (Act 29), as amended. This charge appears in count one of the charge sheet.
The 1st accused has also been charged, in count two, with the offence of assault on a public officer contrary to section 205(a) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960, (Act 29). Likewise, the 2nd accused has also been charged.
Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/Murtala Inusah