A five member panel of the Supreme Court presided over by the Chief Justice, Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo, has reaffirmed the Court of Appeal’s decision for the trial of Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni and two others not to start afresh.

The unanimous decision of the apex Court was that the Court of Appeal was right in its July 3, 2023, decision for retired Justice Clemence Honyenuga’s proceedings to be adopted for the trial to continue.

The Apex Court said the request from the Applicants is without merit and same was dismissed.

The Chief Justice’s chaired panel also comprised of Justice Mariama Owusu, Justice Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Justice Yaw Darko Asare and Justice Ernest Gaewu.

On July 3, 2023, a three member Court of Appeal panel presided over Justice Philip Bright Mensah, unanimously ordered the High Court hearing the case of the Republic versus Stephen Kwabena Opuni and two others to adopt proceedings from the trial conducted by the previous judge who heard the case from 2018 till March 2023.

The decision of the Court of Appeal followed an appeal by the Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame which challenged the decision of the High Court presided over by Justice Kwesi Anokye Gymah, not to inherit proceedings from the court presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenuga (now retired), which started the trial in 2018.

The Court of Appeal panel, which comprised of Justice Ernest Owusu Dapaah and Justice Jennifer Abena Dadzie, said the decision of Justice Kwesi Anokye Gymah not to adopt the proceedings from the previous court amounted to a misdirection of the Courts powers.

The court further concluded that considering the circumstances of the case in question (the Republic versus Stephen Kwabena Opuni and two others), justice will be better served if the proceedings are adopted for the new trial judge to continue from where the previous court left off.

“The decision of the High Court is referred to this Court, and the appeal is allowed in its entirety. The proceedings of the previous court presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenuga be adopted by the High Court differently constituted, and the registrar of the High Court is ordered to do so accordingly, ” the Court of Appeal ruled.

After the proceedings in court, Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame told journalists that he believes the Court of Appeal decision will ensure fairness to both sides of the case (the prosecution and the defence).

He also indicated that his Office has drafted a bill that is aimed at improving the country’s criminal jurisprudence and one of the provisions in the new Bill addresses the issue of adopting proceedings in criminal trials by other courts in the event that another trial court or judge is unable to conclude a matter before them.

Currently, the trial is ongoing at the High Court presided over by Justice Aboagye Tandoh with businessman, Seidu Agongo and his company Agricult Ghana Limited and their Witnesses.

Source: Kasapafmonline.comMurtala Inusah