AN ACCRA Fast Track High Court has dismissed an application by Captain Nkrabeah Effah-Dartey (Rtd), counsel for Ekow Russel, a policeman standing trial in a cocaine case.
Counsel had prayed the court to stop a police service enquiry being processed against his client.
But the court noted that counsel did not bring before it the specific charges against his client.
The ruling judge, Justice S.Y. Anim, explained that the police jurisdiction did not override that of the high court and therefore any consequences of the police service enquiry would be irrelevant to the criminal trial.
He stated that the police, as an administrative body, could go ahead with its enquiry, and subsequently adjourned the case to November 6, 2007 for further hearing.
Capt. Effah-Dartey, in his submission, noted that it would be unfair for the accused person to go through two trials at the same time, as that was in contravention of the Double Jeopardy Rule in the country.
Counsel informed the court that the police were trying his client on the same charges before it, which should not be encouraged.
The law, he explained, did not allow an accused person to be tried twice on the same issue and since the police were charging him on the same charges and may probably use the same witnesses of the prosecution, it would be fair if one was sustained and the other abandoned to spare the accused the trauma of going through both trials simultaneously.
He prayed the high court, which has a superior hand over the police, to stop the police for the trial in court to continue, noting that when the court found his client not guilty at the end and the enquiry found Ekow guilty, it might amount to chaos, as it would be difficult to know who was telling the truth and for that matter whose outcome should be taken.
Mrs. Evelyn Keelson, Senior State Attorney, on the other hand, said the police service enquiry had got no link with the case in the court and besides, there had not been any documentary evidence to prove that the accused person was being charged on the same offence.
She was of the view that the enquiry was an administrative work and therefore did not see how it would offend the Double Jeopardy Rule.
She explained that the law stated that nobody should be punished twice for the same offence, whether already convicted or discharged.
She maintained that the accused person could not be charged on offences already in court under any other law, but prayed that since counsel had not been able to prove his case, the court should continue with the trial till Ekow's counsel proved otherwise.
Justice Anim, after listening to both submissions, adjourned the case for further hearing.
The accused person is standing trial with one Maxwell Antwi, a car dealer, for possessing, supplying and dealing in narcotics. They are on remand after pleading not guilty to the charges.
By Mary Anane