Agordzo Suffers Another Setback

ACP/Dr. Benjamin Agordzo

Another attempt by lawyers for embattled ACP/Dr.
Benjamin Agordzo to have him released from custody has suffered a setback.

His lawyer, Martin Kpebu, had pleaded with a
Kaneshie District Court in Accra to allow the senior police officer who has
been charged with treason over the coup plot to go home and be re-invited by
the Bureau of National Investigations if the need be but the request was not
granted.

Initial
Withdrawal

This was after the prosecution, led by ASP
Sylvester Asare, withdrew the charge sheet based on which he was before the
court and he was momentarily discharged by the court presided over by
Magistrate Eleanor Barnes-Botchway.

According to Mr. Kpebu, Section 60 of the
Criminal Act (Act 30) specifies how criminal proceedings can be commenced.

He argued that once the charge sheet was
withdrawn and he was duly discharged, the prosecution could not re-arrest him
or expect to arraign him based on a new charge sheet on the same day as he was
not invited by the investigative bodies to give a statement which resulted in
the new charge sheet.

Opposition

The prosecutor, ASP Asare, opposed the
submissions of the defence counsel, saying the withdrawal of the charge sheet
does not exclude them from substituting it and the Section 60 as quoted by the
defence, is not applicable.

He said there is no the law or practice
direction which prohibits the prosecution from substituting a charge sheet in
an ongoing matter.

He added that the withdrawal of a charge sheet
and a subsequent discharge does not constitute an acquittal.

“It is the case of the prosecution that the
suspect is discharged on a particular charge sheet registered with this court.
This does not surface anywhere in our jurisprudence that withdrawal constitutes
an acquittal and the suspect should go home and be taken through a new process
by Section 60,” ASP Asare added.

Court
Decision

The magistrate was of the opinion that a charge
sheet can be withdrawn by the prosecution at any time and substituted if the
charges are the same and she does not see anything wrong with that.

She, therefore, granted the request for the
prosecution to withdraw the charge sheet and momentarily discharged Dr. Agordzo.

Consolidate
Case

The charge sheet covering the other nine
accused persons was also withdrawn and they were also momentarily discharged by
the court.

The prosecution later entered a consolidated charge
and fact sheets which have all the accused persons on the same charge sheet
this time around.

Charges

The accused persons are now facing five counts
of treason felony, conspiracy to commit crime, namely
treason, abetment of treason felony, and possession of explosives and
ammunition without lawful excuse.

Their plea was not taken as the charges are
indictable offences and the proper trial has to be done at the High Court.

Remand

The accused persons were remanded by the court
into police and military custody as the police say they are far advance with
their investigations and according to ASP Asare, the prosecution requires a few
weeks to get their house in order.

“We say that in the coming weeks, we shall
indicate to this court our intention to commence the committal proceedings,” he
said.

The defence lawyers did not take kindly to the
request as they were not impressed with what they called the ‘slow pace’ of the
investigations.

Mr. Kpebu said government in a statement had
indicated that the activities of the accused was unravelled following 15 months
of surveillance and, therefore, wondered what other investigations were to be
done.

IGP

Meanwhile, Dr. Agordzo has been released to the
custody of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) on the orders of the court.

This follows a request by his lawyer who told the court that there is convention in the police service where senior officers who find themselves in such situations are released to the IGP for custody.

BY Gibril Abdul Razak



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