27 July 2017

Ghana: Justice Denied Justice - the Sad Story of Justice Quartey's Son in UK - Family Petitions Theresa May, Owusu Ankomah, Ayorkor Botchway for Succor

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When the then 19-year-old son of Justice Quartey, an Accra-based High Court Judge, David Francis Quartey, awoke that fateful morning and saw the car of the Doctor he was staying with still parked in the drive way, he became curious and decided to find out what was happening.

His decision was rooted in the fact that the Doctor, who is a woman, had four hours earlier told him, whilst he (Quartey) was still in bed, that she was leaving home for work.

After he descended the staircase and approached the car, young Quartey saw to his chagrin that his madam had been stabbed several times.

He forced the passenger door of the car open and started giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, hoping that the Doctor would regain consciousness before rushing her to the hospital.

Though young Quartey did so with a clear conscience to save the woman, little did he know that his fingerprints on both the car and the body of the Doctor were enough to implicate him in the murder.

The British police, after their investigations, charged the innocent young man with murder, and at the end of the trial in 2008, jailed the Ghanaian judge's son for life, for the murder of the woman.

The family of jailed Francis Quartey, however, detected several loopholes in the investigations that were used to secure his conviction, but an attempt to use the United Kingdom (UK) legal system to reverse the sentence has hit the rocks, as the Appeal Court has struck out the case under very mysterious circumstances.

Based on this, the family has petitioned the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, Papa Owusu Ankomah, Ghana's High Commissioner to the UK, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Ghana's Foreign Affairs Minister, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord of Justice and the Judiciary of England and Wales, to use their good offices to ensure the re-opening of an investigation into the case, and to unearth the actual perpetrators of the crime.

The following is the petition the family submitted to the aforementioned recipients, which was signed on their behalf by Cecil Kwatelai Quartey and Michael Kwatekwei Quartey.

Please read on;

We, Cecil K. Quartey (Ghana School of Law) and Michael K. Quartey (University of Cape Coast -Faculty of Law), most humbly petition your high offices, praying that the pitiable and most unjust circumstances leading to the conviction and life sentence of our brother, David Francis Quartey, on 21st August 2008, for a murder which he did not commit and could not have committed, be brought to light.

As such, we write to you to officially inform you about the happenings around the case, and pray for your assistance in remedying this gross miscarriage of justice, by opening a fresh investigation into the matter.

CASE BRIEF

David Francis Quartey in 2005, at age 19, gained admission to Irwin College and was lawfully granted permission to enter and school in England.

Due to some challenges, the school soon closed down. Being a young teen in a foreign land, a longtime family friend, Doctor Victoria Anyetei, resident in the United Kingdom with her son (Andy Thompson), offered to assist him.

Doctor Anyetei was a kind and generous woman who welcomed David into her home (No. 19 Teynham Road, Dartford, Kent DAI GE), and became like a mother to our brother. It must be stated that David had no previous caution, conviction, arrests or criminal record.

On the 14th of August 2015, at about 7:30am on the fateful day, Victoria and David had breakfast (Andy had returned from a late-night outing and was sleeping), after which Victoria gave £15 to David to prepare and go to the library to study to re-sit some referred papers. David then bid Victoria goodbye and went to his room.

At about 8:45am, David came out of the house to the driveway and noticed Victoria's car still parked. Coming closer, David saw Victoria in a recline position in the driver's seat, apparently, she was dead with blood all over her, from 56 stab wounds.

In an obvious state of surprise, David opened the car door from the passenger side, because when he tried to open from the driver's side it was locked.

David called out to Andy, and immediately went over the body of Victoria, trying a mouth to mouth resuscitation. David, in a state of shock and neighbours having come around, found his fingers in his own mouth, biting on same, in his trauma.

David acted how any Ghanaian child would have acted by making contact with the body of Victoria, a woman he called his mother.

David held the upper body of the remains of Victoria and laid her on the ground. David's clothes were soiled with the blood of Victoria.

These natural and instinctive actions of David, purely as a result of his culture and upbringing, were rather viewed by the British police as a way of compromising the crime scene.

Being the one who discovered the body, and by reason of purely circumstantial evidence, David became the main suspect of the police.

He was later arrested on the 26th of September, 2007, charged with the murder on 28th September, 2007, tried and convicted on 21st August, 2008.

On 9th February, 2010, there was an appeal set before the Criminal Court of Appeal, however, David's counsel, Mr. J Doyle, did not attend. This led to the dismissal of the appeal.

Key highlights of the case and major inconsistences

David and Andy were quizzed by the police for some days, and statements were taken from both of them. The police were aware of the drug dealings in Victoria's house and Andy's many escapades with drugs. He is also a known informant in drug dealings among the youth in Kent, Dartford. The boys were tested for drugs. Andy tested positive, David came out negative.

The police took statements from David without informing him of his legal rights, and later informed him he was being investigated as a suspect for the murder of Victoria. They had their way with him, taking photographs of his body at random and making him undress. All these were without any legal representation during these incessant interviews.

The case was based on circumstantial evidence, since the murder weapon, that is the knife, was never found. However, a strange knife was found in Andy's room, according to police records, but their discovery was never investigated or checked for fingerprints or DNA to ascertain if that could be the murder weapon.

The police made no serious effort to look for the car keys and spectacles of Victoria, but made a lot of fuss about David's exam result and bills, which David was accused of picking from Victoria's bag.

Andy seemed disinterested in the death of his mother, but the police turned a blind eye to that. An attempt to raise his drug history and character in court was refused by the trial judge.

Andy's drug habit and propensity, together with his known conduct of sniffing and supplying drugs to local criminals, were not explored by the police. Not even when close to the killing of his mother, a gang had attacked him and promised to teach him a lesson. His car was seized from him, and Victoria had become agitated by some events that propelled her to change locks to fixtures in the house.

The police, in their fond and pet treatment of Andy, had a late interview with him and informed him that they (the police) were slanting their suspicion towards David.

David's defence, as put up by his British solicitors, was very questionable. This is because, Barristers for the defence and prosecution, including juniors engaged on the case, clearly had a conflict of interest. Their actions in respect of the case could be said to give rise to professional misconduct on their part.

The police ignored vital and significant evidence of David's innocence, even after receiving calls and confession letters from potential suspects, saying boldly that they were responsible for the killing, and giving reasons for Victoria's death.

The police further failed or ignored or neglected to investigate information available to them that a day to the killing of Victoria, she received a call that made her agitated. According to eyewitnesses, she behaved in an unusual manner, quite different from her normal calm nature outside the house.

The defence solicitors, in collusion with the prosecutors, refused to make use of expert forensic and character witnesses, who were ready and willing to testify at the trial.

This is a case which the Prosecutor admits there was no motive assumed or imagined, save for the unlikely event that David might have snapped and killed Victoria in such a frenzy attack. An attack so frenzied as to inflict 56 deadly wounds on the woman he called mother. David was made to submit to psychiatric examination, and the result was that David's mind was sound. David does not and has never suffered from any mental illness.

The car (Toyota Avensis) was the family car which was normally entered into and driven by all inmates of the house, i.e. Victoria, Andy and David. The Sunday before the fateful day, visitors had come to the house, and on leaving, Victoria drove all the visitors, together with Andy and David cramped together, without free space in the car, to the station, yet the police forensic examination result showed that only the DNA of Victoria and DNA of David could be found in the car. That could never be a true and faithful result.

The defence team did not instruct an independent forensic scientist to review and challenge the evidence prior to or during the trial. The defense refused, neglected or failed to call an expert Orthodontist to controvert the unclear testimony of the prosecution Orthodontist, who had first said that the mark on Victoria's chin could be a blow left by an assailant. Then came to say the mark on Victoria's chin could be teeth marks that fit three other persons, including David's. In the end, the conclusion was wrongly arrived that David bit Victoria.

There are vital and unused materials and information which is in the custody of the police but the defense did not examine or even call for or to be released by the police. That includes the anonymous letter that clearly states the motive and fact that David "Quartey is innocent", and information from an informant.

The defence refused to call significant witnesses, including character witness who had travelled from Ghana to attend that trial. Rather, the prosecution called a witness who is a naturalised British with Ghanaian origin and had lived for close to half a century in the UK, and as such was out of touch with Ghana. Her testimony that in Ghana when one fails his exam he is looked on as an outcast in the family, and that because David had to re-sit some papers his family had rejected him, and so David used his frustration on Victoria and killed her.

Analysis of David's clothes by the police experts concluded that he could not have been the attacker. One wonders why the British police withheld vital evidence of David's innocence which was found on Andy's phone and on the St Thomas Hospital Systems, and shamelessly claim those pieces of evidence had been deleted by mistake. Some of the vital information was only released to David after his British lawyer, he had engaged, refused to appear before the court of appeal, and so the court of appeal was dismissed.

David never left the scene and could not have concealed the murder weapon, the keys and reading glasses.

The compendium of the whole case put together, being circumstantial, cannot and never would lead to one and only one irreversible conclusion that David was the murderer.

Three main issues with the British justice system

The biased attitude of the trial Judge against David, as a black person in the UK being tried for an alleged knife crime. Commentaries on the psychology of the trial Judge was that he was averse to knife crimes in the UK, and so he said he feared to go out at night. He had a biased mentality and as such should have recused himself from the trial. He presided over the trial and in the end exposed himself, when, without any evidence before the court, he concluded that David is a highly dangerous person who did not show appreciation to his guardian, but on the fateful day, when Victoria was waiting in the car blowing the horn of her car for David to come to be dropped off at school, David became agitated, came out with a knife, and inflicted deadly wounds on her, killing her instantly with 56 stabs from a knife.

The forensic examination of Victoria's car, the very same car in which the lifeless body of Victoria was discovered, is alleged to have produced some kind of result, the analysis of which is unbelievable and show how the Kent Police investigation and the prosecuting attorney presented a clearly skewed and dishonest view, so biased against our brother David.

iii. The trial Judge was rude and insensitive to the course of justice in respect of our brother's case. We say it with pain in our hearts and being. David suffered from the refusal to postpone his trial to enable his QC attend to an urgent international trial outside the UK. The trial judge flatly refused this request for adjournment. David had to then engage another QC who had only had a couple of days to study the volumes of the material available for the trial, for this reason, the preparation towards the trial was inadequate and painfully so.

It came as an ugly surprise to our family that this same trial Judge would grant leave to the prosecuting attorney to leave the trial of David half way through the case to go on a holiday outside the UK with his wife. The new prosecuting attorney was seen during court recess walking arm in arm with the Defense solicitor for lunch so openly. This defense solicitor would not attend to David's call for briefing while in the court cells. With an inadequately prepared QC and Solicitors who did not care about the proper defence of the accused would only be the reason why David was denied the right to fair trial.

Indeed, David is a victim of an imperfect justice system

Unanswered questions

The forensic examination came up with the discovery of human hair (the kind normally called Rasta), the DNA of such exhibit did not match that of Victoria and David. Is it not strange that the Kent Police did not pursue any further examination to find whose hair it was, but rather the police made a fuss about investigating to establish whether David indeed rubbed his hand over the misty glass window of the car to get a clear view of Victoria, when he last came upon the scene?

It is also strange and highly suspicious that the Kent Police took charge of the body of the deceased in such a gruesome murder case and straight away washed the body clean with water and chemicals, before depositing the body in the morgue for a postmortem examination. Is it a sound scientific step towards unraveling the mysterious killing of Victoria?

Is it not amazing that the police would fuss about why David should form the habit of washing his trainers, citing the reason that in the UK the youth do not wash or clean trainers. When it is a normal practice in Ghana. Why should David waste energy or effort to wash his trainers if he could so easily outwit the Kent Police with the disposal of the murder weapon, the keys to the car and reading glasses of the deceased?

There is no evidence that David left the scene of crime or the house until the Police took over the situation and placed a guard at post and sealed the area. The police took over the vehicle and premises. They conducted investigations and had access to all the evidence relevant to this case. Yet, the question remains, is it the practice of the British police even in the face of myriad of evidence, focus their evidence on an innocent African boy?

Reliefs sought

David was denied a fair hearing. David did not enjoy the kind of true and fair British justice we read about in times of old. By this petition, we humbly ask that fresh investigations should be conducted into the case. This, we believe, will bring to light the injustice which our brother has suffered and will also bring to light the awkward and unusual circumstances which led to his wrongful conviction.

We believe that with the responsiveness that you are seen to be ready to expedite action on complaints such as this, you will pay much attention to our humble application.

Ghana

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