Crime & Punishment of 2014-03-04

Lawyer remanded for failing to appear in court

The Circuit Court in Accra Monday remanded a lawyer in custody for persistently failing to appear before it to answer criminal charges levelled against him. Jah Josiah, who allegedly stole his client’s $23,125 in 2011, was first put before the court in 2012 but he has not been regular in court.

He was remanded by the court, presided over by Ms Ellen Vivian Amoah, to reappear on March 17, 2014.

The last time he appeared before the court was in August 2013 and has since failed to explain why he has not been appearing.

Josiah appeared Monday afternoon in a dark suit with a neck collar after a bench warrant had been issued for his arrest.

Apparently fed up with Josiah’s truancy, the trial judge decided to remand him to serve as a deterrent to other accused persons who might decide to take things for granted while dealing with the court system.

One notable bench warrant was issued on May 31, 2012, but it was rescinded on June 1, 2012.

Several bench warrants have been issued for his arrest ever since.

When he eventually came face-to-face with the trial judge yesterday, the accused person attempted to plead with the court for leniency but the trial judge would have none of that.

Bail Conditions

Josiah was initially granted bail in the sum of GH¢30,000 with one surety but the bail condition was reviewed upwards to GH¢50,000 with three sureties due to his repeated failure to appear in court.

Facts of the Case

The complainant’s company, Onward Investment Limited, was, in 2011, accused by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) for collecting money from the public without licence.

A report was subsequently lodged with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service where the accused person acted as counsel for the complainant.

According to the prosecution, the complainant was asked to pay $23,125 to the BoG as penalty in 2012 and under the circumstance, the complainant gave the amount to Josiah in February 2012 to pay on his behalf.

However, the accused person failed to pay the money as promised and that resulted in the complainant lodging a complaint with the police.

According to the prosecution, Josiah conceded taking the money from the complainant and pleaded with the police to give him reasonable time to recoup the money from an investment he had made.

He, however, failed to honour his promise to the police and that resulted in his subsequent prosecution.