The presiding judge, in the case involving Eugene Baffoe Bonnie, the former Board Chairman of the National Communications Authority (NCA) and four others has cautioned the defence counsel not to prostitute the rules of court.
Justice Kyei Baffour said the rules for court are not supposed to be prostituted, although accused persons have the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time.
This was after the counsel for Baffoe Bonnie, Mr Abu Juan moved an application for stay of the court’s proceedings pending an appeal at the Court of Appeal.
Mr Juan said they have filed a motion on notice for stay of proceedings pending an appeal, and had not cited any affidavit in opposition from the prosecution and would take it that they were not opposed to this application, unless they would want to oppose same on point of law.
He said their application raises exceptional circumstances that the court should take into consideration.
He said there are serious issues of law raised by the appeal and pray the court to stay its proceedings for these issues before the Court of Appeal to be determined, such that in the instance that the appeal is successful it is not rendered nugatory.
Counsel said the pace at which proceedings in the court were going, was such that if the proceedings were not stayed and the appeal was determined in favour of his client it would have a direct effect on all proceedings that would take place before the determination of this appeal.
The presiding judge said on June 4, the court determined five applications seeking to stay the proceedings of this court based on appeal launched in respect of the rulings of this court, one on the submission of no case and another on a mini trial, but all were dismissed.
“The five proceeded to the Court of Appeal, but that application was subsequently dismissed and they were ordered to come before the court to open their defence.”
The court, however, in its ruling said it was extremely surprising that a party who had been ordered to open his defence has filed another application, saying this was an absolute abuse of the judicial proceedings, and totally condemned the conduct of counsel.
“It is mind boggling that a defence counsel, who represents the law for the accused person, is not complying. This is a manifest attempt to delay the trial and the reason is best known to the applicant and his lawyer.”
He said as to whether or not the prosecution did not file an affidavit in opposition and therefore not opposed is completely misplaced. The fact that there was no affidavit in opposition does not mean the application should be granted by the court as the law is at the bosom of the judge.
He said looking at the nature of the appeal it would have been a waste for the prosecution to have filed an affidavit in opposition, saying “If this matter is a civil case, cost would have been awarded against counsel for seeking to abuse the judicial process. And I trust this would not repeat itself.”
“As I sit here, I exercise the powers of the state and as you represent the accused persons and their liberty I would urge you to be serious in terms of proceedings and submissions filed in court.”
The court therefore dismissed the application saying, “An application without merit can only be dismissed by the court.”
It offered the first accused an automatic seven days stay so that they could fully exercise his right and fully come back to open his defence.
The second accused person was also asked to open his defence, but his lawyers prayed for a short adjournment to Thursday to put their house in order, and the court obliged.
The case was then adjourned to July 4 for the second accused person to open his defence. Meanwhile, the court has ordered the other accused persons to prepare to open their defence in case the second accused person decides not to open his defence in order to avoid any delay of proceedings.
At the previous sitting, counsels for the five accused persons told the court that they had filed an application for stay of proceedings at the Appeal Court.
The other accused persons are: Matthew William Tetteh Tevie, the former Director-General, NCA, Nana Owusu Ensaw, a former board member, Alhaji Osman Mimina, former Deputy National Security Coordinator and George Derick Oppong, Managing Director of Infraclocks Limited (IDL).
All the accused have been charged with willfully causing financial loss to the State.
Other charges include conspiracy, using public office for profit; stealing, money laundering and intentionally misapplying public property.
They are in court over the purchase of a Pegasus machine at a cost of $8 million, which could not function.
The accused persons have denied the charges and are currently on bail.