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Pressure is mounting on government over its handling of the case involving Gregory Afoko, brother of the former NPP National Chairman, Paul Afoko who has been standing trial since 2016 as a suspect in the murder of Adams Mahama, late Upper East Regional Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party, ABC News has observed.
This follows the decision of an Accra High Court presided over by Justice Merley Afua Wood to overturn an earlier decision by another High Court headed by Justice George Buadi, in March 2019, to grant Gregory Afoko bail.
The Attorney General’s office, prosecutors in the murder trial on behalf of the State, in January 2019 filed a nolle prosequi after the arrest of Asabke Alangdi, the other person alleged to have conspired with Afoko in the killing of Adams Mahama.
Lawyers for Gregory Afoko applied for bail and was admitted to bail in the sum of ¢500,000 with two sureties, one of which must be justified. The judge, Justice George Buadi, also ordered Afoko to report himself to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service every two weeks as part of the bail conditions.
The Court’s order to release the suspect on bail has been disregarded by the State who despite the order has kept the suspect in custody while pursing a case at the Court of Appeal.
Despite the pending action at the Appeal’s Court, the State filed another case at a different High Court, presided over by Justice Merley Afua Wood and successfully got it to set aside the earlier bail order.
The posture of government and the ruling by the High Court has incurred the wrath of some Ghanaians amid growing concerns of the abuse of the rights of the suspect.
Civil society organizations like OccupyGhana has issued a statement demanding the punishment of officers who flouted Afoko’s bail order.
Part of the statement read “Ordinarily, we would hesitate to comment on a matter that is pending in court. But we must be concerned when there is any appearance of gross and blatant violations of the constitutional rights of a citizen.”
OccupyGhana is not the only entity to express concern over the issue.
Human rights Lawyer, Francis Xavi Sosu has asked the accused Gregory Afoko to embark on a hunger strike to send a clear message regarding the unfair treatment meted out to him.
Speaking on the issue he said “If I were Gregory Afoko I would go on hunger strike till I die in custody and my blood would be demanded from them. That is what I would have done. I would encourage Gregory Afoko to go on a hunger strike. He should not take anything offered him in custody until whatever would happen should happen”
A US-based private legal practitioner, Prof Kweku Asare contributing to the public discourse has called to question the competence and training of the judge who set aside the earlier ruling of the High Court.
“Just because you disagree with the first Judge’s conclusion doesn’t mean you can set his judgement aside more so it another High Court not an Appeal Court. How is possible that a High Court can overturn a decision by another High Court based on a fact that has been interpreted differently from that of the earlier court. That Judge should be in trouble, for her to do that it tells me she is poorly trained as Judge, she’s not competent to be handling this type of scenario. Because every competent judge will follow some processes, if we allow every judge or prosecutor to do whatever he or she likes we’ll have a chaotic situation in this country” he explained in an interview.
A private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu has expressed shock at the handling of the Gregory Afoko trial by the government noting, “It’s surprising, it’s bizarre (and) it doesn’t bode well for our legal systems if these kinds of things continue.”
Ghanaians have begun a social media trend #JusticeForAfoko to force the State to rescind its decision to keep Gregory Afoko in custody
Some have gone ahead to liken the behaviour of the State to that of tyranny and abuse of rule of law. Below are some reactions of Ghanaians on Social media.
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