The Managing Director of Trasacco Company Limited, Mr Ian David Morris, and nine others yesterday escaped jail when the 45-day conviction for each of them was tempered with one of the swiftest turns in court practice.
The Accra High Court sentenced the MD of the estate developing company and nine others after convicting them for contempt of court.
However, the 10 are currently not in custody because the court granted them ¢500-million self-recognisance bail following a notice of appeal which was swiftly filed on behalf of the contemnors by their counsel, Mr Kizito Beyuo, after the court's ruling.
Ian David Morris was convicted alongside two of his directors, Cinzia Ines Taricone and Ernesto Taricone.
The other convicts were Alhaji Mohammed, CEO of Magnum Force Security Comapany; Adwoa Omari, Managing Director of Empire Builders Limited; Winifred Kumodzie, surveyor of Empire Builders Limited and Trasacco Company Limited; George Akakpo, Head of Security, Empire Builders Limited; and Trasacco Company Limited.
Trasacco Company Limited, Empire Builders Limited and Mangnum Force Security Company Limited were convicted as entities by the court which found the contemnors guilty of trespassing on the lands of residents and developers of Nmai-Dzorn, a suburb of Accra.
The High Court in 2003 gave judgement in favour of the applicants against the Nungua Traditional Council who happened to have sold the land to Trasacco Company Limited and Empire Builders Limited.
After the conviction, counsel, on behalf of the convicts, filed a notice of appeal under Court of Appeal Rule 27 of CI 19, which states that “there shall, in any case, be a stay of execution of the judgement or decision or of proceedings under the judgement or the decision appealed from: (a) for a period of seven days immediately following the giving of the judgement or decision.”
The court, which had earlier convicted the contemnors on the ground that they had flouted the orders of a competent court of law by trespassing on the applicants' property, took counsel's application for bail into consideration and granted the bail accordingly.
When contacted, counsel for the applicants, Mr John Klu, said he was not aware of any new development, adding that he had not been served with any application to vary the decision of the court to convict the contemnors.
He said what he knew was that the contemnors had been convicted to a 45-day jail term and nothing else.
According to him, his clients took a writ of possession of the land in 2003 but the contemnors forcibly and brutally took over the land.
Mr Klu stated that the contemnors were very much aware of the court's judgement which declared his clients as the rightful owners of the land but they (contemnors) still went ahead to brutishly take over the land.
He said the contemnors were currently building a wall round his clients' property and that prompted the applicants to file a motion of contempt against the contemnors.
The contemnors had in their defence stated that they acquired the land before judgement was passed in 2003.
Story by Mabel Aku Baneseh