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Ato Essien trial: I never said state prosecutors were compromised – Judge clarifies

William Ato Essien

Thu, 8 Dec 2022 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The trial judge in the now-defunct Capital Bank case has denied accusing the state of compromising on an arrangement to enter a settlement with the first accused person in the case, William Ato Essien.

His Lordship Justice Eric Kyei Baffour in a statement issued by the Judicial Commission under the hand of Judicial Secretary, Cynthia Pamela Addo; clarified that at no point in his address to the bar on December 1 did he accuse state prosecutors of being compromised.

Parts of media reportage on the events of December 1 when the judge was ready to deliver judgement before the state informed the court of a settlement read as follows: 

“At the proceedings of the court on Thursday, 1st December 2022, the trial Judge stated, that the State was compromised in the matter of the agreement entered into with the 1st accused person, subject to the acceptance of the court and in pursuance of section 35 of the Courts Act, 1993 (Act 459)”.

The judge's statement dated December 7, 2022; disputed the above reportage and made clarifications.

“No statement in the nature of the media reports referred to above, or imputing misconduct on the part of officials of the State, was made by the court either on 1st December 2022 or throughout the trial of the case”, the statement read in parts.

TWI NEWS

Below is the full rejoinder from the judge:

CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION OF REPORTAGE OF PROCEEDINGS IN COURT


The attention of the trial Judge, His Lordship Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, in the criminal case pending at the High Court Accra, entitled Republic vrs. William Ato Essien and 2 Others, has been drawn to publications by various media houses to the effect that:

“At the proceedings of the court on Thursday, 1st December, 2022, the trial Judge stated, that the State was compromised in the matter of the agreement entered into with the 1st accused person, subject to the acceptance of the court and in pursuance of section 35 of the Courts Act, 1993 (Act 459)”.

The trial Judge, would like to correct / clarify the above-stated reportage and place on record that:

* No statement in the nature of the media reports referred to above, or imputing misconduct on the part of officials of the State, was made by the court either on 1st December 2022 or throughout the trial of the case.

* He (the trial Judge) enquired from one of the defence lawyers whose client has been charged with offences of abetment and conspiracy, whether the terms of the agreement entered between the State and the 1st accused would not compromise the position of the other accused persons.

Thank you.

SGD

JUSTICE CYNTHIA PAMELA ADDO JA

JUDICIAL SECRETARY

Background:

On December 1 when Justice Eric Kyei Baffour was ready to deliver judgement on the Ato Essien case, the state informed the court that it had reached a settlement where the accused was to repay a total of GHC90 million cedis to the state.

The state relied on Section 35 of the Courts Act but the judge in comments before agreeing to adjourn the reading of his judgment said the route the state had resorted to seems to one that may be making crimes attractive.

The judge went on to reject the terms of settlements reached between state prosecutors and Ato Essien.

According to court records, the Judge disagreed with the use of Section 35 of the Courts Act to reach a settlement agreement, explaining why it does not apply to the instant case.

Alfred Tuah-Yeboah, the deputy Attorney General on the December 3 edition of Joy FM's NewsFile programme explained that the AG's office was ready to abide by whatever decision the court arrived at but also that the state was not compromised in agreeing to a settlement.

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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