Court overrules objection by Tsikata on witness statement in Assin North MP case

An Accra High Court has overruled an objection by Counsel for Mr James Gyakye Quayson against tendering of a witness statement by Mr Richard Takyi-Mensah, a teacher.

The Court presided over by Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh overruled the objection saying it was presumed that the witness had knowledge as said in the witness statement.

She said it could only be determined whether the witness had a personal knowledge of the matter through cross-examination.

The Assin North MP is facing counts of deceit of public officer and forgery of passport or travel certificates.

He has pleaded not guilty to all five charges and granted GH¢100,000 bail with a surety to be justified.

Mr Takyi-Mensah, who is the first prosecution witness is a resident of Yamoransa in the Assin North Constitutency of the Central Region.

Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, Counsel for the accused person said it was basic feature of the legal process that witnesses could only testify to issues they had personal knowledge about.

He said the witness did not have a personal knowledge on the matters in paragraphs five to 13 in the witness statement.

Mr Tsikata said on July 29, 2019, the accused person applied for a passport and Section 60 of the Evidence Act 1960 indicated that a witness may not testify on a matter unless significant evidence was introduced to support a finding that they had personal knowledge.

He said nothing had been introduced in the witness statement that could support the finding.

The Counsel said the witness statement had not said anything that indicated that the witness was speaking on behalf of the Passport Office.

He said in paragraphs 8 and 9, the witness had not made any information known to indicate that he had personal knowledge about the accused person.

Mr Tsikata said the government of Canada was not represented by the witness and no basis had been laid to show that he had personal knowledge of the matter.

Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in response, said the witness was a competent witness to testify in the matter.

She said the witness had said he was the complainant or the petitioner, who reported the matter to the Director CID about the conduct of the accused person to, which an investigation was conducted leading to the arrest of Mr Quayson, which resulted in he being charged with the offences.

She said the petitioner in the witness statement raised issues as to the manner the former MP obtained his Ghanaian passport.

The DPP said when it came to whether the witness had knowledge of the matter it was up to the defence to establish that through cross examination.

She said with the matters raised from paragraphs 4 to 7; the State would bring in the Director of Passport to tender in documents in support of their case.

Mrs Atakora Obuobisa said as a complainant in the case and under the Evidence Act, he had an opinion about things that had come to his knowledge.

She said under Section 118 of the Evidence Act, evidence was admissible even under the hearsay rule.

The court, therefore, admitted the witness statement in evidence.

The case has been adjourned to Wednesday July 13, 2022, for defence to cross examined the witness.

Source: GNA

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