A three-member panel of the High Court presided over by Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe has said, the court per a Legislation Instrument (LI) does not accept a “love letter” from lawyers to adjourn cases in their absence.
The court said an application for an adjournment is an application and per the new LI, the Supreme Court ruling on East La Dadekotopon case, and the practice direction, a case will not be adjourned on such premise.
Justice Asare-Botwe made this known in the ongoing trial where Assistant Commissioner of Police Dr. Benjamin Agordzor, Dr Frederick Yao Mac Palm, and eight others are standing trial for an alleged coup.
In court on Monday, when the case was called for further Cross-Examination of Second Prosecution Witness Major General Nicholas Peter Andoh, Chief of Defence Intelligence of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), counsel for four of the accused persons, Lawyer Victor Kodjogah Adawudu was absent.
Lawyer Adawudu had earlier written to the court requesting a two-week adjournment due to ill-health, but the court declined the request.
The court said, if he was unable to come to court in person, he should assign a junior lawyer to hold the fort.
However, when the case was called on Monday, July 12, lawyer Adawudu was absent neither was a junior counsel from his Chambers present in court.
To this end, the four accused persons who are being represented by lawyer Adawudu are Donya Kafui (‘A2), Bright Allan Sebrah (A3), Corp Ali Solomom (A5) and Col Kojo Gameli (A9) were asked to take their pens and papers to take note for their lawyer.
“You will notice that your lawyer has not been coming to court. …You were all here when we put in place our case management completion plan. …The new legislation is different from the previous one. So please, we are going to continue. The absence of Mr Adawudu in the light of new legislation…and the decision of the Supreme Court in the East La Dadelotopon case, no application will be forced down the throat of the court. We are continuing unabated.”
The court explained further that, “an application for an adjournment is an application and looking at the new Legislation Instrument and practice direction, we will continue.
“Those (Lawyers) writing love letters to us, we are no longer interested in love letter,” Justice Botwe noted.
She there urged the accused persons to take note of what is happening for their lawyer.
Justice Hafisata Amaleboba, a member of the panel also intimated that the case will progress in the absence of the lawyer.
Justice Anthony Oppong also added that, if the court was going by the excuse duty, he (Adawudu) was given five days but “today is the 8th day since.”
The Squadron Leader of the GAF who is watching brief for the military prayed the court for a health break in the course of the trial for Col Gameli who is said to have a health condition.
The 10 accused persons are ACP Dr Benjamin Agordzo, Colonel Samuel Kodzo Gameli, Dr Frederick Mac-Palm, Donya Kafui, Bright Alan Debrah Ofosu, Johannes Zikpi, Corporal Seidu Abubakar, Lance Corporal Ali Solomon, Corporal Sylvester Akanpewon and Warrant Officer (II) Esther Saan Dekuwine
They have all pleaded not guilty to respective charges ranging from Conspiracy to commit crime to wit; high treason, treason, and Abetment.