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Tsikata points 5 errors against court, but AG says motion for Stay is attempt to distort facts



Mr Tsikata had pointed out five elements of law that he said the court presided over by Justice Mary Maame Yanzuh erred in her ruling on June 23.

They have since July 4, asked the High Court to Stay its Proceedings pending an appeal at the Court of Appeal.

Opposing the motion, the AG argued that the application has not raised any exceptional grounds which warrant a stay of proceedings in a criminal trial.

According to him, the motion was rather a deliberate attempt to frustrate the criminal trial of the Assin North Member of Parliament.

*Motion for Stay*
Mr James Gyakye Quayson and his lawyers led by Tsikata want the High Court to Stay Proceedings of the trial due to an appeal they have filed at the Court of Appeal challenging the decision of the High Court on June 23, 2023, to conduct a day-to-day trial.

The High Court on June 23 in ruling on a motion filed by defence lawyers for a variation or review for an earlier orders for a day-to-day trial dismissed the request and ruleld that its earlier orders were consistent with provisions of the law.

However, Mr. Tsikata, in his submissions, stated that justice will not be properly dispensed with if the matter is scheduled for day-to-day trial.

*Grounds of errors*

Mr Tsikata said, “Our first ground of appeal indicates that, this court erred in law when it failed to appreciate that the exercise of its discretion violated the 1992 Constitution. “

He argued that, Article 296 of the 1992 Constitution which they referred to made “it quite clear that any discretionary power that is being exercised should be done so in many certain ways.

According to him, the said discretionary power ought to be fair and candid, shall be arbitrary, capricious or bias either by prejudice or personal dislike.

To this, counsel pointed out that, “the ruling that your Ladyship delivered did not have regard for those clear constitutional principles of discretionary power.”

Mr Tsikata also pointed out that, the ruling on June 23 focused entirely on the discretionary power of the court to grant adjournments and made references to the criminal procedure code.

But, Mr Tsikata, however said, “that in our respective view, did not recognize the limits that the Constitution imposed on the exercises of such a power.”

*Violation of discretionary powers*

He further argued that, “the considerations that were put before your Ladyship in support of the application namely, the election process that the accused person was engaged in, and the imminence of the by-election itself, which were not weighed in the balance in exercising discretionary power, the duty to be fair was therefore in our respective view violated. “

“We have put before this court, extremely prejudicial remarks why the Attorney General, both in Court and out of court and it’s our submission that, the court erred when it claimed that matters brought to its attention by the accused regarding the abuse of prosecutorial power were prejudicial and insult on accused, and misconduct were not relevant.

Counsel argued that, that determination of the court that the Suplementary Affidavit of it not being relevant was also contrary to a determination that the Ladyship made on June 21 that the supplementary affidavit was relevant

On their ground three, Mr Tsikata said, “We also indicate that the right of accused in Article 19(30) as well as 19(1) were all relevant parts to be considered in the exercise of discretionary power.

“Indeed, we submit also that section 169 of criminal procedure code neither requires nor justifies a criminal trial being done day-to-day,” he argued for ground four.

*No jurisdiction*

For the ground five, Mr. Tsatsu argued that, “we submit that the Court in fact on June 16, 2023, did not have jurisdiction to hear and determine the oral application made by Attorney-General without prior notice to the accused and his lawyers.

He submit that “the per-incuria a binding decision of the Supreme Court.

“It’s our respectful submission that there are exceptional circumstances, which necessitate a stay of proceedings pending the appeal we’ve filed,” Mr Tsikata stated.

*A-G’s opposition*

It was the case of the A-G Godfred Dame that, the contention of Mr Tsikata had originally for a review or variation of the court’s order fixing the proceedings for day-to-day trial from 20th to 23rd June, 2023, as being an infringement of his client’s right to participate in an election.

These dates, according to the A-G have longed been expired and so Mr Tsikata’s application was “grounded on irrelevant matters and confusion.”

He recounted that, it was the ruling on this application by Justice Yanzuh on June 23, 2023, which Tsikata was aggrieved by and had appealed against.

The A-G argued that, by the time, Mr. Tsikata filed his appeal on June 27, 2023 and the subsequent filing of the motion for stay of proceedings, the material time – June 20 to 23, 2023 which Mr. Tsikata was concerned about, had long elapsed.

Mr Dame submitted that, in light of that, Tsatsu Tsikata’s application was incompetent unnecessary and should be dismissed.

“My lady, this incompetent application grounded on confused and distorted facts, can only be designed to waste the court’s time and nothing else”.

*Alleged Prejudice against A-G*

Mr Tsikata as part of his submission pointed out to the court moments where the A-G who initiated the criminal action had made prejudicial comments against the accused.

But, Mr Dame indicated that he had “never” on any platform, made any comment about the ongoing criminal trial against Mr. Quayson.

“I have never commented on the criminal trial of Gyakye Quayson anywhere. Never. All my comments were related to the constitutional case which the Supreme Court was seized of.

“When I stated that Gyakye Quayson must suffer the same fate as Adamu Dramani Sakande, it was in reaction to the Supreme Court judgement that he be restrained from going to Parliament, which is what happened to Adamu Dramani Sakande.

“The media house, myjoyonline, reported this fact clearly in their publication which Mr. Tsikata relies on as an exhibit. So, why is he once again, distorting the fact and misleading the court?” the A-G wondered.

*Akufo-Addo’s tape*

The A-G also debunked the allegation by Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata that President Akufo-Addo had prejudiced the criminal trial of Mr. Gyakye Quayson by his remarks prior to the June 27 by-election at Assin North Constituency.

Portion of the tape played in open court upon request from Mr Tsikata was strongly opposed to by Mr Dame, adding that this assertion by Mr. Tsikata was based on a distortion of the facts.

Mr. Dame invited the court to take a critical look at the tape that Mr. Tsikata had played in court, and the court would notice that Mr. Tsikata had played only a few seconds of the President’s speech at the Assin North rally, and not the full record.

The A-G stated that the full record of the President’s speech will show that the President had only asked the people of Assin North why they “would want to vote for someone who was bedeviled by litigation – today, High Court, tomorrow, Court of Appeal, tomorrow, Supreme Court.

“Why do you want to vote for someone who is bedeviled by litigation. Gyakye-Quayson says that even if he is in jail, the people of Assin North will vote for him, but is that what you want? One who will serve from jail?”

Mr Dane stated that under no circumstance can anyone who listened to the President’s speech alleged that the President had prejudiced the hearing of the criminal trial.

He said, Mr Tsikata knew that and it was why he had deliberately and mischievously played only a few seconds of the recording of the President’s speech and not the full speech.

*Tsikata, Dame in tango*

Mr. Tsikata while on his feet had alleged that what Mr. Quayson was going through under the current A-G was similar to what he, (Tsikata) had experienced in 2008 under the current president who was then the A-G.

He contended that, the action of the Akufo-Addo at the time he was A-G led to his wrongful conviction by an Accra High Court.

He further indicated that the current Attorney-General’s conduct was similar to that of President Nana Akufo-Addo when he was the Attorney General of Ghana from 2001 to 2003.

Tsatsu Tsikata claimed that his observations about the A-G’s alleged comments which have been dismissed by the High Court as “not relevant” was similar to his own travails with the law.

“….On that basis in paragraph 16 of our Affidavit in support, the deponent indicates how this conduct of the Attorney-General (Godfred Yeboah Dame) is very similar to that of the President (Nana Akufo-Addo) when he was the Attorney General in 2003 to 2008 when he initiated action against Mr Tsatsu Tsikata.”

Mr. Tsikata then openly cautioned that the A-G will be prosecuted in the same measure if power changes hands at the polls during the 2024 elections.

*A-G’s sympathy*

Mr Dame when he took his turn to address the court, replied; “I sympathise with your experience when you found yourself in jail in 2008 but I can assure you that I will not conduct myself in a way that will land me in prison, like you did.”

Mr. Dame questioned the relevance of Mr. Tsikata’s experience in 2008, some 15 years ago to the trial currently pending before the court in 2023?

“It is again an attempt to divert the court’s attention to irrelevant matters and must not be tolerated,” A-G pointed out.

The motion for Stay of Proceedings would be determined on Tuesday, July 11, 2023.

*Brief facts*

James Gyakye Quayson is standing trial for perjury, forgery and other counts of criminal nature pertaining to his Ghanaian passport and eligibility to contest in the 2020 general elections.

The Republic’s case against Hon. Gyakye Quayson is that he lied on his passport application form filled on July 26 that he was not a dual citizen and that he held only Ghanaian citizenship.

This was in spite of the fact that he was yet to renounce his Canadian citizenship issued on 30th October 2016.

Further to this infraction against the law, Hon. Quayson also submitted forms to the electoral commission declaring that he only held allegiance to the Republic of Ghana.

This was despite knowing that the application to renounce his Canadian citizenship had not yet been granted by the time he filed his eligibility papers with the electoral commission on or between 5th and 9th October 2020.

Richard Takyi, a resident of Yamoransa in the Central Region prayed a High Court in Cape Coast to cancel Hon. Gyakye Quayson’s electoral victory because he was not eligible to have taken part in the elections.

The matter travelled all the way to the Supreme Court which upheld the ruling of the Cape Coast court. The apex court of the land subsequently ordered Gyakye Quayson to be removed from Parliament occasioning a by-election.

The National Democratic Congress in spite of the criminal prosecution he faces repeated him as the candidate for the election which he won. He has since been re-sworn in as the Member of Parliament for Assin North while his trial proceeds.



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