The High Court in Accra has directed that, the criminal trial of James Gyakye Quayson be conducted on daily basis beginning from Tuesday, June 20.
James Quayson, then Member of Parliament for Assin North, had his status declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court on May 17, 2023 following a petition from Michael Ankomah Ninfah.
He is facing five criminal charges including perjury and forgery but had declared his intentions to contest in the bye-elections set for June 27 following the Supreme Court judgement.
In court on Friday, June 16, his lawyers moved a motion for Mr Quayson’s case to be continued after the June 20 hearing to immediately after June 27.
But, the request was rejected by the Court, presided over by Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh.
Justin Terriwajjah, who was holding brief for Tsatsu Tsikata sought to have the trial continued immediately after the Assin North by-election slated for June 27, 2023.
He argued that his client was contesting in the national duty in a bid to represent the people of Assin North in parliament, and therefore the need to continue the trial after the by-election for Quayson to have a leveled playing field in the campaign.
“The Supreme Court on 17 May declared his election unconstitutional and asked that his name be expunged from the records of parliament.
“The by election is scheduled for 27th June, and he is one of the candidates. This is a national assignment,” counsel acknowledged.”
“We are praying that the 20th June date can be shifted to immediately after the 27th June to give him a fair chance to contest,” counsel prayed.
But, the request was however opposed by the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, contending that, nobody had given Quayson a national assignment.
Godfred Dame argued that considering the charges leveled against Quayson, he could be convicted and jailed if found guilty, l and that the need to trial the case expeditiously to bring clarity on Quayson’s status.
He, consequently, prayed the court to conduct the case on a day-to-day basis, beginning June 20.
“I am constrained to talk because of what my learned counsel said. He is introducing political matters which are extraneous. He is saying the accused is involved in a national assignment. Who gave him a national assignment?” Godfred Dame wondered.
“It is a selfish quest to contest in this election knowing very well that there is a criminal case pending before him,” the AG stated.
“The Supreme Court has declared your (Quayson) election unconstitutional, and you know that he is facing a criminal prosecution, and he could be convicted and jailed.”
“It is in the interest of justice for the matter to be expeditious – the case be heard on day-to-day” and “I prayed that the subsequent adjournments after today (June 15) be on day-to-day basis.
Though counsel for the accused lawyer Terriwajjah agreed to the trial being conducted on a day-to-day basis, he prayed for that to be done only after the by-election.’
Justice Yanzuh presiding at the Criminal Court 3 of the Accra High Court subsequently dismissed the request.
Mr Quayson has pleaded not guilty to deceit of the Public officer, forgery of passport or travel certificates, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury and false declaration for office.
These charges are in relation to certain alleged offences in the run-up to the 2020 Assin North parliamentary election.
The case has been since been adjourned to June 20, 21, and 23 for further cross-examination of Richard Takyi-Mensah, the first prosecution witness.