Quayson fails to halt trial at High Court

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
James Gyakye Quayson
James Gyakye Quayson

The injuncted Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, has failed to halt his trial at the Accra High Court in which he has been accused of perjury and other offences.

Mr Quayson wanted the Court of Appeal to put his trial on hold pending the determination of a motion for the trial court to strike out some of the charges levelled against him.

However, in a ruling yesterday (May 26, 2022), a three-member panel of the second-highest court of the land, presided over by Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie, dismissed the application for stay of proceedings.

It was the considered view of the court that Mr Quayson failed to prove any exceptional circumstances to warrant a stay of proceedings.

“The threshold to persuade this court for a grant of stay of proceedings is exceptional circumstances. The applicant has not been able to show exceptional circumstances to warrant the stay of proceedings,” the court held.

Mr Quayson has pleaded not guilty to five counts of deceit of a public officer, forgery of passport or travel certificate, knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury and false declaration for office over the allegation that he knew he had dual citizenship when he filed to contest the 2020 parliamentary election.

He is on bail in the sum of GH¢100,000 with one surety.

The MP has, however, filed a motion urging the trial court to strike out three of the five charges — forgery of passport or travel certificate, perjury and false declaration for office.

It was based on the said motion that Mr Quayson filed an application for stay of proceedings.

Prosecution’s facts

The facts by the prosecution indicated that Mr Quayson was charged with the offences following a complaint by Richard Takyi-Mensah, a teacher, and subsequent investigations by the police.

According to the prosecution, on July 26, 2019, Mr Quayson applied for a Ghanaian passport and indicated on the application form that he did not have dual citizenship.

“The accused, at the time, held Canadian citizenship issued on October 30, 2016, but failed to declare same on the application form. The passport application of the accused person was vetted on July 29, 2019.

“Based on this false information, together with the other information provided by the accused person on the passport application form, he was issued with a Ghanaian passport on August 2, 2019,” the prosecution said.

The prosecution further explained that in October 2020, Mr Quayson picked up nomination forms from the Electoral Commission (EC) to contest the Assin North parliamentary seat but failed to indicate that he had dual citizenship.

“Mr Quayson was issued with a renunciation certificate of his Canadian citizenship on November 26, 2020, about 48 days after he had made the false statutory declaration and filed his nomination forms,” the prosecution added.