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Court To Try Quayson In Absentia3 min read

Court To Try Quayson In Absentia<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">3</span> min read</span>


A High Court in Accra has served notice that it will hold the trial of Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson in absentia if he fails to either show up for the trial or join in virtually on November 9, 2023.

The court, presided over by Justice Mary Yanzuh, said the case had been delayed for some time now with the prosecution’s witness being in the witness box for more than a year since he gave his evidence-in-chief.

Mr. Quayson is on trial for deceiving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by making a false statement that he did not have a dual citizenship in order to acquire a Ghanaian passport.

He has been charged with five counts of deceit of public officer, forgery of passport or travel certificate, knowingly making a false statutory statement, perjury and false declaration of office.

The trial was expected to resume on October 13 after it had been adjourned for two months as a result of the legal vacation for the Superior Courts, but was adjourned after the court was told that Mr. Quayson was receiving medical attention in Canada.

The court adjourned the case to October 27 for continuation and Mr. Quayson was allowed to join the proceeding virtually in case he was not back to Ghana.

The case was again adjourned to November 3, 2023 because the trial judge had attended a training and was not available on that day.

Both Mr. Quayson and his lawyers were all absent on Friday when the case was called, and the court indicated that Justin Pwavra Teriwaja had written to the court.

According to the letter, the lawyer indicated that he had been informed that the case was adjourned to November 1, but said that Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata would not be available, hence requested that the case is adjourned to November 17, 2023.

Justice Yanzuh was not enthused by the fact that Mr. Teriwaja did not show up in court himself to offer some sort of explanation, indicating that the court finds the attitude of counsel as disrespectful and unbecoming of a lawyer.

The court also observed that Mr. Quayson was absent and no excuse had been offered for his absence, adding that although the court had been told previously that he was receiving medical attention in Canada, no evidence or whatsoever had been presented to the court.

Justice Yanzuh indicated that the case had delayed unduly and the prosecution’s first witness, Richard Takyi-Mensah, has been in the witness box since July 2022.

The court, therefore, held that if the prosecution fails to produce the witness at the next sitting, it will take a further decision.

It further indicated that should counsels for Mr. Quayson fail to show up on the next date, the court will close their cross-examination and allow the prosecution to call its second witness.

The court also said it will hold the case in absentia should Mr. Quayson fail to show up in person or join the trial virtually on the next date.

Justice Yanzuh indicated that the virtual link had been created and shared with Mr. Teriwaja, but added that the link would be shared with him again.

She also asked that the record of Friday’s proceedings be served on counsel for Mr. Quayson. The case was adjourned to November 9, 2023.