Court continues Gyakye Quayson's trial in his absence
The trial in which Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin-North, James Gyakye Quayson is facing perjury and forgery charges continued in the absence of the accused person.
This decision by the Court presided over by Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh, stems from orders of its November 3, 2023 proceedings which ruled that it would try the case in absentia if the accused or his lawyers failed to show up.
When the case was called Thursday (Nov 9), lead counsel for the accused, Tsatsu Tsikata, said he only became aware of the November 3 proceedings through a Graphic Online publication.
When the court resumed from the legal break in October this year, the case was expected to be heard on October 27 this year but the court did not sit since the presiding judge had to attend a training.
The Court subsequently adjourned the matter to November 3.
On October 13, this year, Mr Quayson though his lawyers submitted a note from a medical doctor about a medical test to be conducted on him.
Quayson’s lawyers said they were absent because on October 27, the day the court fixed November 3 for the hearing, they had proposed November 17, 2023 to a court clerk after several attempts to reach the Attorney-General’s Office to agree on a mutual date for the trial failed.
Mr Tsikata cited this as the reason for their absence when the case was called on November 3 this year.
But on November 3 this year, the presiding judge ruled would conduct the case in absentia if the accused and his lawyers failed to participate in the next hearing.
When the case was called for hearing today, Mr Quayson was absent.
Asked about the whereabouts of his client, Mr Tsikata said Quayson was in Canada to attend to a medical situation.
He added wrote to the High Court registrar for the proceedings of November 3 but had not been served.
Mr Tsikata, who described his claient’s situation as serious, prayed the court to allow them to invite the medical doctor who attended to Mr Quayson and required that Quayson was attended to by specialist doctors.
He added that they were only served with a hearing notice and not the record of proceedings for November 3 this year.
But the Court said there was no reason for Quayson’s absence.
The judge, subsequently ordered the first prosecution witness, who had been in the box since July 2022 to mount the box for cross-examination.
Mr Quayson is facing charges of forgery and perjury in relation to certain alleged offences in the run up to the 2020 Assin North parliamentary election.
He has pleaded not guilty to five counts of forgery of passport or travel certificate, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury and false declaration for office.
It is the case of the prosecution that Mr Quayson allegedly made a false statement to the Passport Office that he did not hold a passport to another country when he applied for a Ghanaian Passport.
In addition, the prosecution has accused Mr Quayson of making a false declaration to the Electoral Commission (EC) to the effect that he (Quayson) did not owe any allegiance to a foreign country when he filed to contest as a candidate for the Assin North seat.