The attempt by the National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, to strike out three proceedings of an Accra High Court where he is standing trial has been dismissed by the Supreme Court.
Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo had gone to the Supreme Court alleging that the trial judge, Justice Samuel Asiedu, acted in excess of his jurisdiction when he refused to grant them a seven-day automatic stay after dismissing their application for stay of proceedings.
Tony Lithur, counsel for Ofosu-Ampofo, appearing before Supreme Court on Wednesday said the trial judge violated rules 27 and 27(a) of the Court of Appeal rules when he continued to hear the matter after his attention was drawn to the filing of stay of proceedings before the Court of Appeal.
The application was opposed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, who stated that the application did not properly invoke the supervisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
She said on February 5, Mr. Lithur only informed the court that he had filed an application for stay of proceedings and the court did not do anything other than adjourn the matter to February 19 so there was nothing to be quashed from that proceeding.
Mrs. Obuobisa told the court that on February 19, 2020, Mr. Lithur moved an application which the trial court had jurisdiction to hear after which Mr. Lithur had asked for a seven-day automatic stay.
She said although the trial judge held that the rule does not apply to criminal matters, it still went ahead to adjourn the matter to February 27, 2020.
On February 27, she said the matter came up again and the judge said the High Court has jurisdiction to stay its own case or otherwise, unless ordered by the Court of Appeal, which was not the case.
Mrs. Obuobisa added that during all three proceedings which the plaintiff was complaining about, the trial court acted within its jurisdiction.
A five-member panel presided over by Justice Jones Dotse and assisted by Justices Gabriel Pwamang, Gertrude Torkornoo, Clemence Honyenuga and Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi, in a 4-1 majority decision, dismissed the application as having no merit.
Justice Gabriel Pwamang dissented on the proceedings of February 27, 2020.
Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo and the party’s Deputy Communications Officer, Anthony Kwaku Boahen, are standing trial at an Accra High Court over alleged leaked audio detailing strategies the NDC intends to use for the 2020 general election, one being the kidnappings of family members of political opponents and turning around to blame it on the NPP administration.
By Gibril Abdul Razak