Drama unfolded at the Criminal Court 5 Division of the High Court on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, in a case where four persons are standing trial for allegedly kidnapping some three Canadian girls in Ghana.
When the case was called at 10am, Oliver Twum Abada, the lawyer for the first defendant, was absent.
For over 30 minutes, the court had to wait for him to begin proceedings.
He was scheduled to continue with cross-examination of prosecution Witness (PW) 10 today.
Not impressed by the turn of events, trial judge, Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, directed the first accused person, Sampson Agharlor to continue with the cross-examination of the witness.
Pleas by the accused person to adjourn to enable the lawyer to make it to the cross-examination was not heard, as Justice Marfo insisted on her directive.
She said the accused person had taken the magnanimity of the court for granted and had needlessly dragged the cross-examination of the witness.
She said the accused person was also in the habit of delaying the processes and threatened to discharge the witness if the accused person could not, or failed to conduct the cross-examination.
“From your own submissions, your lawyer knew he ought to be here at 10am to cross-examine PW10. He has been in the box for far too long. This witness is not coming back after today because it’s an insult to me,” the judge said.
Eventually, Justice Lydia Osei Marfo graciously gave another chance; “I will give you few minutes to get in touch with your lawyer, or you will have to go ahead with the cross-examination”.
At this time, however, a panting lawyer Oliver Twum Abada entered the courtroom, apologising profusely for delaying the time of the court.
He told the court he had spent his time at the circuit court giving representation to “vulnerable and marginalised” persons.
But the already fed-up Justice Marfo directed the counsel for the 1st accused, Oliver Twum Abada, to fast-track the cross-examination of the witness.
While this was happening, Senior State Attorney, Hilda Craig, brought to the attention of the court that the first accused person, Sampson Agharlor, had directed some unidentified individuals to her [prosecutor’s] office over the case.
Alarmed by this, the court quizzed the accused person, who disclosed that his relatives from Nigeria had come to inquire about why he was in detention all this while.
Justice Marfo said it was wrong for “strangers” to have had direct contact with the prosecutor on the matter.
She said all interactions on the case with strangers should be through the Prisons Service.