Court will not countenance undue delays; Quayson to be tried in absentia if…
The judge presiding over the case in which Member of Parliament for Assin-North, James Gyakye Quayson is facing criminal charges has said it would conduct the case in absentia if the accused and his lawyers fail to participate in the next hearing.
This comes after lawyers for Mr Quayson failed to show up when the case was called on Friday (Nov 3, 2023).
The court said the accused and his lawyers also failed to join a virtual link for the trial.
Before August 2023, Mr Quayson, who is facing charges of forgery and perjury in relation to certain alleged offences in the run up to the 2020 Assin North parliamentary election, had sought permission to attend to his medical needs in another jurisdiction.
When the court resumed from the legal break, the case was expected to be heard on October 27, 2023 but the court did not sit since the presiding judge had to attend a training.
The court subsequently adjourned the matter to Friday (Nov 3).
While the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa was in court to represent the state in the matter, the accused and his lawyers were absent.
The judge said she had received a letter from the substantive defence counsel, Justin Teriwajah, who had written to the court that he thought the hearing date was November 1, 2023.
Also, in the said letter, counsel indicated that Mr Tsatsu Tsikata would not be available and proposed November 7, 2023.
Describing the absence and attitude of Mr Teriwajah, as disrespectful, Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh, wondered why the substantive defence counsel was absent.
“The court had been previously informed that the accused was unwell and was receiving medical treatment in Canada. However, no evidence or whatsoever has been presented to the court in that regard,” she said.
Justice Yanzuh lamented the delay in the trial saying the current prosecution witness had been in the case since July 12, 2022.
She adjourned the case to November 9, 2023.
In her orders, the judge said if the prosecution failed to produce its witness at the next adjourned date, the court would take further action.
She added that if the defence counsel does not show up in court, the prosecution would be made to call its next witness.
“If at the next date the accused fails to show up in court or join the proceeding virtually, the court will conduct the case in absentia.
“The court will not countenance undue delays in this trial,” Justice Yanzuh said.
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.