The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Ghana, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has decried the cost of starting a fresh trial for ex-Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni.
According Mr Dame, prosecution will face inconvenience and hardship should a new trial commence for Dr Opuni.
He decried the removal of Justice Clemence Honyenuga from the trial, describing the Supreme Court’s decision as a miscarriage of justice.
It would be recalled that the Supreme Court in a 3-2 Majority decision on July 28, 2021, removed the trial judge, Justice Clemence Honyenuga, from the case.
The Supreme Court took the decision after the lawyers for Mr. Opuni petitioned Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah and filed a suit at the Supreme Court, having been dissatisfied with Justice Honyenuga presiding over the case because according to them, he had prejudged and determined the guilt of Dr. Opuni.
But in an affidavit sworn to by a Chief State Attorney at the Office of the Attorney General, for an application for review of this decision, Mr Dame maintains that the constitutional requirements of a fair and expeditious trial will be violated if the case is reassigned to a new judge.
He said in the affidavit that “That if a trial de novo of the respondent herein results from the decision of this Court dated 28th July 2021, same will occasion substantial miscarriage of justice as the constitutional requirements of fair and expeditious trial will not only be violated but also, the prosecution will be put to enormous expense, inconvenience and hardship in commencing a new trial.”
The Attorney General further noted that a decision to prohibit a trial judge who has conducted a criminal trial for almost four years, at which the prosecution has called all of its witnesses, from further hearing of the matter, must be on basis of only compelling circumstances which show indisputable bias on the part of that judge and not on account of matters as complained about the respondent herein.
“That the gross and fundamental errors contained in the decision of the ordinary bench have resulted in a substantial miscarriage of justice and render the fit and proper case for the invocation of this Honourable Court’s review jurisdiction to rectify the errors contained in the decision of the ordinary bench”, the document read in parts.”
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