A five-member Supreme Court panel presided over by Justice Sule Gbadegbe, has cautioned the trial judge in the case of the Republic verses Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie and four others, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, as well as the Attorney General’s Department not to abuse the criminal trial procedure in pursuit of the charges levelled against the accused persons by the State.
The second accused person, Matthew Tetteh Tavie, instituted an action at the Supreme Court for purposes of seeking an order of the Apex Court to quash a decision of the High Court that asked him to open his defence ahead of the first accused person in the case [Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie], pending the expiration of a seven day moratorium that accrued to the first accused person after the High Court dismissed his application for stay of proceedings to open his defence.
It was the contention of the applicant that the decision of the High Court Judge ordering the second accused person to open his defence ahead of the first accused person was an abuse of the criminal trial procedures.
The Supreme Court in its ruling said that there is no need to rule on the application because the seven-day moratorium itself has elapsed as at the date of the present hearing. The Supreme Court having enquired from the defence team what they would want to do, the defence team indicated to the Court that they have decided to withdraw their application. The Apex Court then declared it struck out as withdrawn.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Sule Gbadegbe, subsequently cautioned the trial Judge not to be seen overstepping his powers in a criminal trial by giving orders that are inconstituent with the law particularly when the accused persons are facing a conspiracy charge. He further suggested to the Director of Public Prosecution, Yvonne Atakora Obuabisa, to be bold to point out the mistakes of the trial judge should he be seen making wrong pronouncements.
Per the happenings in the Supreme Court on Thursday 25th of July 2019, the Accused persons would have to return to the High Court to open their defence forthwith.