A PANEL OF three at the Appeal Court yesterday unanimously dismissed an application by Mr. Tony Lithur, counsel for Daniel Kwasi Abodakpi, Member of Parliament for Keta, in a matter in which he has accused Mrs. Henrietta Abban, an Appeal Court judge of influencing a final decision of a High Court.
Mr. Lithur, in a supplementary affidavit, alleged that Justice Stephen Farkye, the trial judge who jailed Abodakpi, in the course of delivering his judgment, went out to meet Mrs. Abban who advised him to give the accused a 10-year jail term instead of the four years Justice Farkye had initially planned.
However, the panel, made up of Justice Kanyoke, the presiding judge, Justice Yaw Appau, and Justice Kusi Appiah, noted that the allegation by Tony Lithur was a mere speculation which had no merit or credibility and therefore did not make sense.
Justice Appau, reading the ruling, observed that it was only in exceptional circumstances that the court could allow fresh evidence in a substantive appeal and even before such application could be admitted, there should be credible evidence which should also be made available during the trial.
The court noted that in this particular case, there was no third party who overheard what transpired between the two judges, adding that even if there was a party, he should have also sworn an affidavit in the matter.
The application, the court therefore said, was misplaced, stressing that Abodakpi himself had admitted in his statement that what he was seeking to do was unusual.
The judge finally stated that even if the allegation was true, it had no meaning since the charges such as stealing and causing financial loss to the state leveled against the accused had no bearing on this case.
William Addo, counsel for Justice Farkye, in opposition to Tony Lithur's submission, told the court to dismiss the application as it was totally misconceived.
He explained that on the said day, his client went out to meet Mrs. Henrietta Abban to collect copies of Acts 29 and 30 which he had earlier asked her for and intended to refer to in the delivery of judgment.
The prosecutor in the case, Miss Gertrude Aikins, on her part, also supported the view that the application be dismissed on grounds that it sought to embarrass the two Justices of Appeal.
To her, the incidence of the trial judge leaving the reading of the judgment and going out of the court room was usual as judges are human beings and suffer from all human frailties.
She argued that for the fact that neither Mr. Abodakpi nor his lawyer was in the room with the two Justices to hear what transpired between them, the application should be dismissed as it had no basis.
“The allegation of bias being raised and for which leave is being sought to introduce fresh evidence into the record was not in existence during the trial and happened long after the trial.
In addition, it did not relate to any issue in trial and cannot therefore be admitted,” she noted.
By Mary Anane