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07.07.2005 General News

Hearing of writ against Chris Asher to commence later


Accra, July 7, GNA - An Accra High Court on Thursday could not hear a writ filed by solicitors for Ms Matilda Ofori Atta, which is seeking the arrest and prosecution of Mr Chris Asher, a legal practitioner for allegedly murdering her father, Ofori Katipie in 1982 at Akim Oda in the Eastern Region.

The court did not sit, according to the clerk, because the Judge, Mr Justice A.K. Abada had travelled. Both the plaintiff and defendants were also not present and the two parties would have to meet to fix a date for hearing to commence.

The Greater Accra Branch of Legal Aid Committee of Ghana filed the ex-parte motion last month on behalf of the applicant, Ms Ofori Atta. The respondents are Inspector-General of Police, Director of Prisons and the Attorney - General.

The applicant stated in the writ that Chris Asher, then an Akim Oda-based lawyer, was remanded in prison custody for the murder her father, Ofori Katipie and was indicted by the Akim Oda Magistrate's Court to stand trial for the murder.

The applicant states that Asher was remanded in the Nsawam Prison pending trial for the murder of the deceased, but he escaped from prison, while in lawful custody of the Second Respondent, the Director of Prisons.

Asher went to reside in London and the US and recently came to the country to give evidence before the National Reconciliation Commission. He has since become a frequent visitor to the country.

In a supplementary notice filed, the applicant, who applied for an order of Mandamus, explained that the word was "a relief available to an applicant to seek an order to compel a person to perform a statutory duty".

The applicant further explained that "within the field of public law the scope of Mandamus is still wide and the court may use it freely to prevent breach of duty and justice".

It said that it was an offence as provided under Section 226 of ACT 29, to escape from lawful custody.

The applicant stated that from Article 202, the IGP is the head of the Police Service and he is responsible for the operational control and administration of the Police Service.

It said under Section 1(1) of the Prisons Service Decree NRCD 46, the statutory duty of the Second Respondent, who is the Director of Prisons, shall ensure the safe custody and welfare of prisoners and whenever practicable to undertake the reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners.

According to the applicant, by Article 88(3) the Attorney - General was responsible for the initiation and conduct of all prosecutions of criminal offences.