The Criminal Division “3” of the Accra High Court, yesterday dismissed the bail application filed by lawyers for Gregory Afoko, accused of the murder of Alhaji Adams Mahama, the former Upper East Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The court, presided over by Justice Louise Simmons said the trial of the accused was not delayed.
She said both the prosecution and the defence acknowledged there had been two trials in the eight years pendency of the criminal case against the applicant and Alangdi Asabke, who allegedly conspired with the applicant, to murder Alhaji Mahama, in 2015.
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On April 27, this year, a seven-member jury returned a 4:3 verdict in favour of Afoko and the trial court ordered retrial of the applicant.
Asabke was sentenced to death after the jury found him guilty of conspiracy to commit crime and murder.
But while waiting for the trial to commence, the applicant, through his counsel Stephen Sowah Charway, moved the motion for bail.
Mr Charway told the court that in retrial of the case in 2019, his client was granted bail, but he (client) was kept in custody although he satisfied all the bail conditions.
Counsel submitted that the continuous detention of the applicant is “unfair, is without any justification and is unconscionable.”
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Mr Charway reminded the court that there is a constitutional right to bail of an accused person clearly stated in Article 14(4) of the 1992 Constitution.
Counsel argued that, while he has been in detention, the applicant has not behaved in any rebellious way or whatsoever.
The applicant, he said, had no previous conviction before his arrest eight years ago on May 21, 2015, as his guilt has not been proven.
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The prosecutor, Ms Elorm Jonny, stated that although Afoko was granted bail sometime in 2019, he was not able to fulfil all bail conditions and that was why he was still in lawful custody.
“We want to set the record straight that even though the constitution guarantees personal liberty, the same constitution has spelt out situations where that liberty can be curtailed and one of them is detention pending trial,” she said.
Ms Jonny said Afoko was currently in lawful custody and that there has not been an unreasonable delay in the case as the first trial was truncated because Asabke Alangdi, who was on the run, had been arrested.
Ms Jonny said it was only proper that the case started De Novo since accused were charged with conspiracy.
“We have followed due process and as at now, we are ready to go in (retrial) but we have to be assigned by the Chief Justice.
“Our witnesses are ready and they are eager to testify again and as at now it is only the applicant so the case will go expeditiously. We are assuring the applicant that he will be prosecuted within a reasonable time,” Ms Jonny said.
She stated “we are submitting that when granted bail, he will not appear to stand trial due to the severity of the trial.”
Alhaji Mahama suffered severe body injuries after a substance suspected to be acid was poured on him in front of his house in Bolgatanga on May 20, 2015, and later died from the injuries at the Bolgatanga General Hospital.
Afoko was initially the only one standing trial after Alangdi allegedly absconded from Ghana.
After more than three years of trial, the Attorney-General (AG) filed a nolle prosequi on January 28, 2019, to discontinue the trial following the arrest of Alangdi.
Afoko challenged the nolle prosequi by filing a case at the Supreme Court, but on June 19, 2019, the Apex Court dismissed the case on the premise that Afoko failed to prove that the nolle prosequi was capricious, unfair and arbitrary
BY MALIK SULLEMANA