Ghana: ACP Agordzor Refused Bail Again

19 November 2019

An Accra High Court yesterday refused a bail application for Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Dr Benjamin Agordzor, who is charged with abetment and treason.

The court, presided by Justice George Buadi, said the application was pre-mature as investigations into the matter were ongoing.

The court took the view that ACP Agordzor could interfere with investigations.

The ruling came few days after the Kaneshie District Magistrate Court dismissed a preliminary legal objection by the defence team of ACP Agordzor on November 8, 2019.

At the district court, counsel for accused, Ms Hamdiya Mohammed, argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.

This compelled the defence to go to the high court which had jurisdiction over the matter.

The defence relied on Article 14(3) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 181 of Act 30, and contended that the magistrate court had no jurisdiction over the matter.

The counsel averred that the fact that persons were arraigned in the past did not make the practice right, and asked the magistrate to decline jurisdiction.

Ms Mohammed told the court the defence was not served with the bill of indictment, adding that, ACP Agordzor is still a "suspect" and not accused.

She referred to the decided case of the Supreme Court in Martin Kpebu versus the Attorney General 2015-2016 Supreme Court Ghana Law Report (SCGLR).

In the said judgement, the counsel stated that the apex court held that a critical appraisal of Articles 14, 19(1) and 2(c) would appear to confer power for jurisdiction to grant bail to the trial court.

She argued that the High Court is the only court that can hear the matter and said the prosecution intentionally brought the accused to the district court to delay bail.

Should the court fail to decline jurisdiction, Ms Mohammed asked the court to set down the matter for constitutional interpretation of Articles 130(2) and 14(3) of the 1992 Constitution.

The prosecutor, Assistant Superintend of Police (ASP) Sylvester Asare, said the court is the first point of call in such matters, noting that no issue had arisen for the defence to demand constitutional interpretation.

He said the submission by the defence was premature and an attempt to frustrate justice.

ASP Asare said the prosecution acted in accordance with law to arraign the accused within 48 hours after arrest.

The prosecutor told the court that the accused was served with the charge sheet which was registered at the registry of the court.

But, Mrs Eleanor Kakra Bans Botwe, the presiding magistrate, said she is clothed with jurisdiction because the provisions, which the defence relied on, did not expressly mention any court.

She said although treason is a first degree felony, the district court is the first court of instance where committal proceedings are conducted before they are sent to the high court.

On the issue of bill of indictment, Mrs Botwe said prosecution could not have served the accused within 48 hours as the docket had not been sent to the Attorney General for advice.

The court remanded the accused into police custody upon the request of his counsel who claimed his client had been denied access to his relatives by officials of Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) where he was detained.

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