A second attempt by the restrained Member of Parliament for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, to get rid of three out of the five charges preferred against him by the Attorney General (AG) has been dismissed by an Accra High Court.
The embattled MP was slapped with five charges by the AG, including deceit of a public officer, forgery of passport or travel documents, perjury and false declaration for office to which he pleaded not guilty.
His lawyer, Tsatsu Tsikata, had earlier pleaded with the court to strike out counts 3,4,5 which deal with knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury and false declaration for office on ground that those charges which relate to Article 94(2a) of the Constitution were ambiguous, hence the matter ought to be stayed and the Article referred to the Supreme Court for interpretation.
The court, presided over by Justice Mary Yanzuh, however, dismissed the application on ground that the mere mention of a constitutional article in the charge sheet did not warrant an interpretation of the said article.
But Mr. Tsikata, filed an application once again urging the court to strike out those charges, this time arguing that the charges did not contain enough particulars to inform the accused persons as to the offences for which he was hauled before the court.
He said it is quite clear from the face of the charge sheet that the prosecution is claiming that the accused made a statutory declaration that he does not owe allegiance to any country other than Ghana, charges which tie to 94(2a) of the Constitution.
Mr. Tsikata argued that the prosecution’s reference to Article 94(2a) makes it necessary for the court to have proof of the laws of the country other than Ghana in relation to which it is claimed Mr. Quayson owes allegiance.
He indicated that it is being claimed in the fact of the case that the accused owes duo allegiance because he holds a Canadian passport, adding that the charge against the accused is deficient in terms of Article 19:11 of the Constitution, as they do not disclose any particulars.
He added that there is a requirement of proof of foreign law which should be included in the charge sheet, without which the accused will not know what he is being charged for, as he has not been apprised on the charge sheet about the country he owes allegiance to.
The application was opposed to by Dorcas Felli, a State Attorney, who argued that the charges preferred against the accused are offences created by statute and not the constitution.
She said the particulars of offence on the charge sheet have given sufficient information for the accused to answer to, should the court order him to do so.
She said the application at this stage was premature, as the plea of the accused has been taken, the prosecution has filed its disclosures, and what is required now is for the trial to commence.
Ms. Felli added that the application was made on the first day of the trial and the current one was just designed to delay the trial.
Justice Yanzuh, in her ruling held that disclosures have been done and a case management conference has been held, so the accused is fully aware of the facts that the prosecution is relying on for the trial.
She said the counts complained of have provided enough material to make the accused aware of the charges for which he is standing trial.
She held that the accused can decide to remain mute throughout the trial, and that will only place more burden on the prosecution to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Justice Yanzuh dismissed the application for lacking merit. She adjourned the case to July 12, 2022, for the prosecution to call the first of its five witnesses.