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25.08.2004 Crime & Punishment

Top judge dragged to Attorney General’s office

By Chronicle
Top judge dragged to Attorney General’s office

... Over 'strange' judgement A CIRCUIT court Judge, Justice P. K. Aggrey, has been dragged before the Attorney General for allegedly setting free an accused person who was involved in a forgery of land title certificate case on the grounds that the matter had been already settled amicably.

In spite of protests by the complainant and other interested parties that the case had not been settled amicably, Justice Aggrey went ahead and said he had closed the case forever, thus setting the accused free.

In a petition to the Attorney General, Mr. Erasmus Commodore, a Germany-based Ghanaian journalist, stated that his nephew, Mr. Isaac Korley Commodore, a former officer at the Survey Department, raised an objection against the judgement.

According to him, the nephew told the judge that his uncles had not settled the case amicably with Mr. Kingsley Owusu Achau, the accused.

Mr. Commodore therefore called on the Attorney General to investigate the case, as he thinks the judge had not handled it properly.

“How can a criminal case of forgery be changed to a civil case and be said to have been settled amicably parties, when it is matter between the Republic and the accused?” He queried.

When The Chronicle contacted the Attorney General's Department, the officials confirmed the receipt of the petition, adding that it had been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for prompt action.

Dilating on the substantive case, he said the accused, Mr. Kingsley Owusu Achau, was charged on Wednesday, April 9, last year before an Accra circuit court with forgery on three accounts of forgery of document, possessing forged document and uttering forged document. According to Mr. Commodore, the accused pleaded not guilty on all three charges and was granted bail with the sum of ¢50 million with one surety to appear while the case was adjourned to April 30, last year.

He further stated that the accused person had deliberately been playing delay tactics in order to frustrate him since he knew that he (complainant) domiciled in Germany.

He explained that the continued delay tactics led to the adjournments of the case on six occasions only for the accused to appear in court on June 2, last year without his lawyer.

In view of that, he said, the judge asked the accused to produce his lawyer but he did not return until a clerk was sent to bring him.

“This was a delayed tactics from the accused as he knew the date when the complainant would be returning to Germany since he had announced that at court,” the petitioner stated.

According to him, when the accused during his cross-examination only asked him whether the land in contention was leased to him (accused) for 30 years or not, to which he (complainant) affirmed to it, he knew the accused was up to something.

Mr. Commodore noted that his youngest brother, Ebenezer Adamafio, who negotiated with the accused for the leasing of the land, gave his evidence on Monday June 6, last year, and was cross-examined the next month.

After the court had resumed after about four adjourned occasions, the accused and his solicitor did not appear in court with no reason. v He said a bench warrant was issued for the arrest of the accused since according to Detective Inspector Apeatu of the Commercial Crime Unit he had noted that the accused had gone into hiding.

The case was resumed after an adjournment but this time the prosecutor, ASP Abraham, was compelled to fall on the constitution for the accused to be tried in absentia.

The petitioner continued, stating that on September 27, last year, as usual the accused and his lawyer were not present, but Inspector Apeatu gave his evidence as scheduled and identified the forged land title certificate.

He observed that Mr. Apeatu was not cross-examined and the case was adjourned, and was resumed after four months.

“Surprisingly on Wednesday February 18, the accused and his solicitor appeared in court and lied to the court that the computer at the Land Title Registry changed the leasehold agreement into a freehold agreement in error and the error had been rectified, though it was gathered the Land Title Registry does not use a computer, but rather they operate through the manual system,” he stated.

He said at the next sitting, the case was as usual adjourned since the accused and his lawyer were absent, but strangely enough they showed up on the day of the judgment.

Mr. Commodore said he considered this quite curious and suspected that someone in the court was all along communicating with the accused.

He mentioned that at the close of the case the judge maintained that both parties had agreed that the transaction between them was leasehold agreement for a period of 30years and that the said agreement did not confirm a freehold interest on the accused and the accused was discharged.

According to a report in the Daily Graphic of March 4, this year, on February 3, this year, the Regional tribunal, presided over by Mr. Justice P. K. Aggrey, granted each of the accused persons in a cocaine case bail in the sum of ¢300 million with two sureties to be justified.

However, the Court of Appeal on March 3, this year quashed the bail for the six suspects, stating that P.K. Aggrey's tribunal erred in granting the bail.

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