The Court of Appeal has, in a unanimous decision, ruled that alleged prejudicial comments made by President Akufo-Addo did not influence the decision of the High Court to hear the James Gyakye Quayson trial on a day-to-day basis.
The court has, as a result, given the green light for this mode of trial to continue.
The legislator has in the last few weeks set in motion multiple legal processes all in a bid to halt this court schedule.
The High Court on Tuesday opted to proceed with the case despite a pending process at the Court of Appeal on the same matter. His lawyers on Wednesday urged the Court of Appeal to halt the proceedings at the High Court.
Lead Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata told the court the President, the Attorney General and some ministers of state had made prejudicial comments.
He said the decision of the court to have a daily trial sits within what he said is a predetermined outcome.
“We further submit that there are clear indications that this process is intended to reach a predetermined outcome being sought by the President of the Republic the Attorney General and other ministers of state.
“It is our submission that proceedings conducted on this manner also violate article 296. That article makes it clear that discretionary power gave to be exercised in a manner that is fair and candid and shall not be arbitrary capricious or bias either by resentment, prejudice etc.”
“Where a discretionary power is exercised based on prejudicial statements including those of the Attorney General and the President of the republic and the court simply proceeds to give effect to their prejudicial statements and even considers those statements to be irrelevant to the exercise of its discretion such a court in our respectful submission cannot simply be allowed to go on to its predetermined outcome.” Mr. Tsikata told the court.
The Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame however disagreed.
“The Application is unmeritorious. The only matter he should be concerned about is whether the trial court erred in ordering for the trial to be continued on day to day basis. All the other allegations about prejudice, statements that were even made after this ruling are utterly irrelevant. Even though, the applicant is aggrieved by this ruling, all the matters apart from the alleged prejudice by me and post-dated the ruling in question. The alleged statement by the president which he does not exhibit, alleged statements by certain ministers which he does not specify or exhibit were all made after the ruling.” Mr. Dame stated.
The three-member panel presided over by Justice Henry Kwofie dismissed the request by Mr. Quayson’s lawyers.
“We have averted our minds to the provisions in the constitution, the Baffoe Bonnie case and effective case management strategy as published, as we understand, the learned judge in making that decision acted within the remits of the law and we are unable to agree that his right to fair trial has been curtailed. We have paid attention to alleged prejudicial comments by President, AG and other ministers, those comments are extrajudicial and the trial judge did not make any decision based on those comments.”
“It has not been demonstrated before us that the order before the trial judge goes anywhere near any breach of the constitution. It has also not been demonstrated that the ruling was arbitrary, capricious or bias. No exceptional circumstance has been demonstrated. The application is hereby refused”