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13.10.2021 Politics

Cocobod trial: Honyenuga was just waiting to sentence Opuni – Lawyer tells Supreme Court

Cocobod trial: Honyenuga was just waiting to sentence Opuni – Lawyer tells Supreme Court
LISTEN OCT 13, 2021

Lawyers for Stephen Opuni told Supreme Court’s enhanced panel on Tuesday, 12 October 2021 that Justice Clemence Honyenuga was just going through the rituals of a trial but had already made up his mind to pronounce the former CEO of Ghana Cocoa Board guilty in the GHS271 million financial loss case.

“He [Justice Honyenuga] had made his mind and was going through the rituals while waiting to pronounce sentence”, Mr Samuel Codjoe told the court as he argued against the Attorney General’s review application by which he is seeking to overturn the 3-2 majority decision of the ordinary panel, which led to the removal of Justice Honyenugu from the case.

Until the 28 July 2021 ruling of the Supreme Court, Justice Honyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme Court, had been hearing the case as an additional High Court judge since 2017.

His prohibition was based on an allegation of his open bias against the accused persons – Dr Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo.

The five Justice that heard the prohibition case were Justices Jones Dotse, A.M Dordzie, Amadu Tanko, Lovelace Johnson and Gabriel Pwamang.

Justice Gabriel Pwamang, who wrote the lead judgment, concluded as follows: “The test is an objective one based on the principle that not only must justice be done, but it must be seen to be done. As the authorities say, bias is so insidious that the judge himself may not even be aware that he has a bias in the matter under consideration.

“It is for the reasons explained above that I hereby grant the prayer for prohibition in order that justice will be seen to be done in this case. Therefore, in conclusion, the application succeeds on both counts and is accordingly granted as prayed.”

He was backed by his colleagues, Justices A.M Dordzie and Tanko Amadu.

Justices Jones Dotse and Lovelace Johnson disagreed.

The five have been joined by Justices Gertrude Torkonoo and Prof Ashie Kotey, for the review hearing.

The court has set 26 October 2021 to rule on the matter.

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