Agordzo Suffers Another Setback
Another attempt by lawyers for embattled ACP/Dr. Benjamin Agordzo to have him released from custody has suffered a setback.
His lawyer, Martin Kpebu, had pleaded with a Kaneshie District Court in Accra to allow the senior police officer who has been charged with treason over the coup plot to go home and be re-invited by the Bureau of National Investigations if the need be but the request was not granted.
This was after the prosecution, led by ASP Sylvester Asare, withdrew the charge sheet based on which he was before the court and he was momentarily discharged by the court presided over by Magistrate Eleanor Barnes-Botchway.
According to Mr. Kpebu, Section 60 of the Criminal Act (Act 30) specifies how criminal proceedings can be commenced.
He argued that once the charge sheet was withdrawn and he was duly discharged, the prosecution could not re-arrest him or expect to arraign him based on a new charge sheet on the same day as he was not invited by the investigative bodies to give a statement which resulted in the new charge sheet.
The prosecutor, ASP Asare, opposed the submissions of the defence counsel, saying the withdrawal of the charge sheet does not exclude them from substituting it and the Section 60 as quoted by the defence, is not applicable.
He said there is no the law or practice direction which prohibits the prosecution from substituting a charge sheet in an ongoing matter.
He added that the withdrawal of a charge sheet and a subsequent discharge does not constitute an acquittal.
“It is the case of the prosecution that the suspect is discharged on a particular charge sheet registered with this court. This does not surface anywhere in our jurisprudence that withdrawal constitutes an acquittal and the suspect should go home and be taken through a new process by Section 60,” ASP Asare added.
The magistrate was of the opinion that a charge sheet can be withdrawn by the prosecution at any time and substituted if the charges are the same and she does not see anything wrong with that.
She, therefore, granted the request for the prosecution to withdraw the charge sheet and momentarily discharged Dr. Agordzo.
The charge sheet covering the other nine accused persons was also withdrawn and they were also momentarily discharged by the court.
The prosecution later entered a consolidated charge and fact sheets which have all the accused persons on the same charge sheet this time around.
The accused persons are now facing five counts of treason felony, conspiracy to commit crime, namely treason, abetment of treason felony, and possession of explosives and ammunition without lawful excuse.
Their plea was not taken as the charges are indictable offences and the proper trial has to be done at the High Court.
The accused persons were remanded by the court into police and military custody as the police say they are far advance with their investigations and according to ASP Asare, the prosecution requires a few weeks to get their house in order.
“We say that in the coming weeks, we shall indicate to this court our intention to commence the committal proceedings,” he said.
The defence lawyers did not take kindly to the request as they were not impressed with what they called the ‘slow pace’ of the investigations.
Mr. Kpebu said government in a statement had indicated that the activities of the accused was unravelled following 15 months of surveillance and, therefore, wondered what other investigations were to be done.
Meanwhile, Dr. Agordzo has been released to the custody of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) on the orders of the court.
This follows a request by his lawyer who told the court that there is convention in the police service where senior officers who find themselves in such situations are released to the IGP for custody.