Oliver Barker-Vormawor charged with treason felony; denied bail

Oliver Barker Vormawor

An Ashaiman District Court Monday denied a bail application by lawyers of Mr Oliver Barker-Vormawor, one of the convenors of the Fix The Country Movement, a political pressure group.

He is charged with treason felony contrary to section 182 (b) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 Act 29 and remanded in police custody for two weeks.

Barker-Vormawor will be brought back to court on February 28, 2022.

The Court, presided over by Justice Eleanor Barnes-Botchway, a Circuit Court Judge, sitting as an additional Magistrate, said it had no jurisdiction to grant bail.

Lawyers for Barker-Vormawor said the continuous detention of the accused was in flagrant violation of the constitution, stressing that the charge sheet was a “nullity requiring the discontinuance of his detention.”

Prosecuting, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sylvester Asare, said the Court had no jurisdiction over a first degree felony and could not grant Barker-Vormawor, bail.

He said the only instance in law where the court may exercise such discretion was provided under Section 130 of Act 30 of the Order of Committal.

The prosecution said it would be premature and excess of jurisdiction if the court attempted to invoke section 130(4) of Act 40.

Regarding the keeping of the accused for more than 48 hours, it said the police had put in an official request to the office of the Chief Justice to constitute a court in Ashaiman.

The prosecution said efforts were made to arraign the accused, but it did not materialise.

Anthony Akoto Ampaw, Counsel for the accused, in his opening statement, said holding his client for more than 48 hours was a denial of his fundamental human rights and liberty as enshrined in Article 14 (3) Clause four of Constitution.

He said the 48-hour rule was mandated on every institution, including the police as it was unconstitutional to arraign the accused after more than 48 hours and still “talk about the Court not having jurisdiction…”

Mr Ampaw told the Ghana News Agency in an interview later at the Ashaiman District Police Station that his client was earlier charged with misdemeanour of conduct conducive to the breach of peace, only for him to realise in court that it was treason felony.

Justice Barnes-Botchway said although bail was a constitutional requirement, charge of treason was not bailable at the Ashaiman District Court and it had no jurisdiction to grant same.

She asked the police to ensure that the accused person had access to his counsel between 10am to 10pm each day with at least three family members visiting.

Meanwhile, members of the Fix The Country Movement are picketing at the Ashaiman District Police Station.

Mr Barker-Vormawor was arrested by operatives of the National Security at the Kotoka International Airport on Friday February 11, 2022 over a social media post the police said had the intent to subvert the Constitution.

He arrived at the Ashaiman District Court amidst tight security with the police escorting him into the court room.

He looked calm with his hands behind him, wearing a “Fix The Country” T-Shirt, dark spectacles, an ash jacket and trousers on a pair of Nike sneakers.

Source: GNA

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