The Kaneshie District Court has dismissed a request by lawyers for Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dr Benjamin Agordzo to be allowed to go home.
The legal team of Dr Agordzo who has been accused of providing assistance for an alleged coup plot, made the request yesterday following the decision of the prosecution to substitute the charge sheet with a new one.
However, in a ruling the court held that the prosecution had the right to withdraw and substitute charges and that doing so was not unlawful or an error.
“I don’t see any error as alleged by the defence,” the magistrate, Mrs Eleanor Kakra Barnes-Botchway, ruled.
The presiding magistrate, however, asked the prosecution to stop the practice of constantly withdrawing and substituting the charge sheet.
According to her, the prosecution had substituted the charges on four different occasions.
“I hope this is going to be the final of withdrawal of charge sheet. Do not rush and bring accused persons to court when you are not done with investigations,” she said.
Let my client go home
The prosecution withdrew the two charge sheets filed against ACP Dr Agordzo and the nine alleged coup plotters, in order to file a consolidated one which contains all their names.
Counsel for Dr Agordzo, Mr Martin Kpebu was of the view that his client had been discharged by the withdrawal of the old charge sheet, and therefore, he (Dr Agordzo) should be allowed to go home.
According to him, the police could invite his client again and charge him with the offence stated on the new charge sheet.
“The suspect should be allowed to go home and then be invited back to the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) for the normal protocol to be observed in respect of the new charge sheet,” counsel argued.
Counsel based his argument on Section 60 of the Criminal and other Offences (Procedure) Act, 1960 (Act 30), which he said, stipulated how criminal proceedings were instituted.
In his response, the prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sylvester Asare, rebutted the arguments of counsel and urged the court to dismiss it.
According to him, the law did not bar the prosecution from substituting a charge sheet and that did not mean an accused should be released to go home.
“It will not suffice anywhere in our jurisprudence that a withdrawal constitutes a discharge where the suspect must go home,” he argued.
New charge sheet
With the prosecution filing a consolidated charge sheet, ACP Dr Agordzo and the nine alleged coup plotters have been named on one charge sheet.
The 10 suspects, including five soldiers, have been charged with offences including conspiracy to commit treason felony, treason felony, abetment to commit treason, conspiracy to possess explosives, arms and ammunition without lawful excuse and possession of explosives, arms and ammunition without lawful excuse.
They have been accused of plotting to destabilise the country and “possibly take over the government”.
Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli, Warrant Officer II Esther Saan Dekuwine, Corporal Seidu Abubakar, Lance Corporal Sylvester Akanpewon, Dr Frederick Yao Mac-Palm, Donyo Kafui, aka Ezor, and Bright Alan Debrah.
The other accused persons are Dr Frederick YaoMac-Palm, a medical practitioner; Donyo Kafui, alias Ezor, a blacksmith; Debrah, a fleet manager, and Gershon Akpah, a weapons mechanic at the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).
Prosecutors have accused the 10 of being part of a group known as Take Action Ghana (TAG), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), which is alleged to have planned to embark on demonstrations against the government and “possibly take over the government”.
The suspects have been remanded by the court to reappear on December 4, 2019.