Saturday, 11 July

Opuni trial judge angry as State Attorney fails to produce witness in court

Dr Adu-Ampomah (L) and Dr Stephen Opuni (R)

The judge hearing the case involving former COCOBOD CEO Dr Stephen Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo, Justice Clemence Honyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme Court sitting with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, has expressed anger at the state attorneys prosecuting the case, for not producing their third prosecution witness Dr Yaw Adu-Ampomah for further cross-examination.

Adu-Ampomah is currently the Special Advisor on Cocoa Affairs to the Minister of Agriculture.

When the case was called, the Principal State Attorney Stella Ohene Appiah, told the court: “We were served this morning with an application for stay of proceedings pending the determination of an interlocutory appeal which has been fixed for July 2nd at the court of appeal”.

“My Lord, the prosecution didn’t bring its witness because we understood that when such applications are repeated at the Court of Appeal, the sittings for the day does not usually continue”.

“My Lord, we were also informed that the application has been brought to the attention of the court”, she added.

In response, Justice Honyenuga said: “Are you the one to decide? Is it for you to decide or the court to decide? You are not the one to decide. You have lost touch. Why should there be an oversight? You have to come to court prepared and the court will decide. I’m not pleased; this case has dragged for some time”.

He added: “We have a function and I have gone to the CJ to inform him I couldn’t be there because of this case; now, I’m here and I cannot go to the function.”

The Principal State Attorney apologised, saying: “My Lord, we are very sorry”.

Dr Opuni’s lawyer, Mr Samuel Codjoe, argued in support of the state attorney’s position citing C.I.19 to buttress his point that in matters of such nature, proceedings are stayed for the Court of Appeal to deal with the interlocutory appeal.

Justice Honyenuga then said: “It is my considered opinion that filing an application for stay of proceedings does not operate as an authentic stay. It is also my considered opinion that the rules cited by the first accused in C.I.19 as amended are wholly unsupportable”.

According to the court, the trial, as of now, is for the case to proceed and not a matter of execution in any form.

The judge, thus, dismissed the submissions of both parties and adjourned the case to 6 July 2020.