05.12.2007 General News

I Didn’t Discuss Abodakpi’s Case With Another Judge - Justice Farkye

05.12.2007 LISTEN
By Daily Graphic

The trial judge who sentenced Dan Abodakpi, a former Minister of Trade and Industry, to 10 years imprisonment for causing financial loss of $400,000 to the state, has denied holding any discussions with another judge on the Abodakpi's case on the day he delivered judgement.

He, however, admitted meeting another judge before he delivered judgement on the day in question.

"I went out to meet my then sister, Mrs Henrietta Abban, to collect copies of Acts 29 and 30 which I had earlier asked her to furnish me with to enable me to refer to them in the delivery of the judgement in the case," Mr Justice S. T. Farkye, a retired Court of Appeal judge, stated.

"My judgement in the trial of the applicant, which was written, was not in any way influenced by the collection of the said acts from my said sister, as can be attested by the flow of the language of the said judgement when I read it in open court," he continued.

Justice Farkye said this in an affidavit in opposition to an application by Abodakpi which had accused him of having risen from the courtroom on the day of judgement at the instance of Mrs Justice Abban, an Appeal Court judge, to hold discussions with her, thereby acting in a manner that gave rise to real likelihood of bias.

According to Abodakpi, during the discussions, Justice Abban directed Justice Farkye to impose a 10-year sentence, instead of the four years which Justice Farkye had intended to impose on Abodakpi.

Justice Farkye denied the appellant's claims and said, "I spent less than two minutes with my said sister and it is, therefore, patently untrue that I went out to have discussions with her on the judgement I was delivering."

He said the allegation of interference and bias made against him did not form part of the issues determined at the trial of Abodakpi and, consequently, "the jurisdiction of this honourable court cannot be properly invoked to enable the applicant to adduce fresh evidence as he is trying to do by his application".

Justice Farkye, accordingly, prayed the court to dismiss the application, which he described as "totally misconceived".

For her part, the acting Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ms Gertrude Aikins, said Abodakpi's application was without merit, misconceived and calculated to embarrass the two Justices of Appeal.

She said a look at the judgement in its entirety showed that it flowed naturally and was the product of the learned trial judge.

According to the prosecution, the incidence of trial judges leaving the reading of judgements in the middle was not unusual, as judges were human beings and suffered from human frailties.

Ms Aikins argued further that neither Abodakpi nor his lawyer was in the room with the two judges to hear what transpired between them, adding that "no foundation has been laid for invoking the court's jurisdiction for the introduction of the fresh evidence".

A legal practitioner, Mr Frank Davis, was in court to represent Justice Abban's interest.

The court, presided over by Justice S.E. Kanyoke, with Mr Justice F. Kusi-Appiah and Mr Justice Yaw Appau as panel members, will give its ruling in the matter tomorrow.

On November 1, 2007, the Court of Appeal refused to grant bail to Abodakpi on the grounds that the record of proceedings at the lower courts was not available to ascertain whether or not there had been miscarriage of justice against him.

Abodakpi had applied for bail pending the outcome of the appeal which he filed on the grounds that his conviction was wrong and, therefore, amounted to a miscarriage of justice.

Story by Mabel Aku Baneseh

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