Agordzo appeals against ruling to open defence

Benjamin Agordzo

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dr Benjamin Kwasi Agordzo, one of the ten persons accused of plotting to overthrow the Government has appealed against the High Court’s ruling asking him to open defence in the ongoing trial.

The three-member panel court had ruled that prosecution had established a case against ACP Agordzo and the nine others, thus, they should open their defense.

However, the accused held that the trial court erred in law as prosecution had not been able to establish a prima facie case against him and, therefore, appealed against the ruling.

The accused said the trial court misdirected itself/erred in law when it ordered him to open his defence when no prima facie case had been established by the prosecution against the accused/appellant.

He stated that: “Contrary to the ruling of the trial court that the law demands the accused to offer evidence to explain bare allegations made by the prosecution, the law is that the trial court is under a mandatory duty under section 173 of Act 30 to establish first and foremost whether sufficient evidence has been led to establish the elements of the charge against the accused before calling on the accused to open his defence.”

It said contrary to the approach adopted by the trial court of “merely” quoting the narrations contained in the evidence-in-chief of the prosecution witnesses, which had been discredited in cross examination, the law was that the “mere repetition” of the unsubstantiated allegation of prosecution witnesses was not sufficient to discharge the mandatory duty imposed on the trial court under sections 173 and 174 of Act 30 to determine on the evidence that “… all the elements of the offence…have been proved …”

The trial court, the appellant said, misapplied the Court of Appeal’s decision in The Republic versus Aaron Kwesi Kaitoo (SUIT NO H2/25/2017, 26 APRIL, 2018), which unlike the instant case endorsed the findings of the trial judge (Her Ladyship Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe J) that the accused had failed to cross examine on certain vital evidence and as such, the said pieces of evidence stood unchallenged at the close of prosecution’s case.

“The trial court misapplied the principles espoused in the binding decision of The State versus Ali Kassena [1962] 1 GLR 144 and Asamoah versus R [2017-2018] 1 SCLRG 486, which held that where there had been no evidence to prove an essential element in the crime…; or where the evidence adduced by the prosecution had been so discredited as a result of cross-examination etc; the court ought not call on the accused to open his defence,” the accused said, adding that the trial court erred in law when it failed to refer article 3(3)(b) of the Constitution (1992) to the Supreme Court for interpretation.

He said contrary to the trial court’s reliance on section 20 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) to interpret article 3(3)(b) of the Constitution (1992), the law was that in any proceedings in a court other than the Supreme Court, where an issue that related to a matter or question of interpretation arose, that court shall refer the question of law to the Supreme Court for determination.

ACP Dr Agordzo has been charged with abetment of high treason.

He is standing trial with Dr Frederick Mac-Palm, Donya Kafui, Bright Alan  Debrah Fosu, Johannes  Johannes Zikpi, Colonel Samuel Kojo  Gameli, Warrant Officer Class Two Esther Saan Dekuwine, Corporal Seidu Abubakar, Lance Airforce Corporal Ali Solomon and Corporal Sylvester Akankpewon.

They have all denied the various charges.

Source: GNA

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