You Are 50 Years At The Bar, Please Stop Playing To The Gallery – AG Chides Tsatsu Tsikata3 min read
Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame has called out Tsatsu Tsikata, lawyer for James Gyakye Quayson, the embattled National Democratic Congress (NDC) member of Parliament for Assin North constituency, charging him to stop playing to the gallery in the on-going trial of the Assin North lawmaker.
Godfred Dame in an objection to a question posed by Tsatsu Tsikata to the state’s first prosecution witness, Richard Takyi-Mensah, during cross-examination in court today Wednesday 19 July 2023, observed that Mr Tsikata’s line of questioning amounts to harassing the witness in order to appeal to the sentiments of people in the courtroom.
The prosecution witness
The witness, Mr Takyi-Mensah from the records available, petitioned the Police to investigate the Assin North member of Parliament after the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections. In his petition, he attached various documents to support his case against the Assin North MP.
Following his petition, the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) invited him to assist in their investigations. When he attended to their invitation, he wrote a statement as part of their standard operating procedure of Police investigations.
In the said statement, Mr Takyi-Mensah indicated that he attached various documents to his petition to support his case in the petition he had submitted to the police against Mr James Gyakye Quayson.
During cross-examination, Mr Tsikata asked the witness to confirm whether or not he did indicate in his police statement that he had attached supporting documents to same. The witness, Mr Richard Takyi-Mensah in his answer said that indeed, he had attached supporting documents to his petition to the Police.
Mr Tsatsu Tsikata at this point indicated to the court that it is the position of the defence team that the state had not fully disclosed to the defence team all documents they ought to disclose because the said supporting documents that the witness says he attached to his police statement are not known to defence lawyers and the accused person.
Mr Tsikata at this point prayed the court for an order directed at the Police CID to make the said documents available to the defence team because according to the defence lawyer, those documents will be vital to establish the innocence of their client.
Full disclosure made
The Attorney General, Godfred Dame, opposed the application describing it as totally needless and unwarranted. He explained that the State furnished the counsel for the accused with all documents in the possession of the prosecution before trial. In the course of the trial, the defence had requested for the same documents, the State gave to the defence the same documents.
Again, the State had written a letter to the defence lawyers in which it indicated all the documents they had and which they had disclosed to the accused person. This included all the documents that the witness, Mr Richard Takyi-Mensah referred to as having attached to his petition to the Police.
In effect, the Attorney General noted that there are no other documents anywhere to be disclosed as has been persistently demanded by counsel for the accused person.
Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzuh’s court after hearing both sides ruled that the State had indicated that it had fully disclosed all documents it was in possession of. Counsel for the accused had suggested that there was more to be disclosed but had failed to indicate what those documents were. In the circumstances, the court would not make an order in futility. The court therefore dismissed Mr. Tsikata’s application.
The court after its intervention, initially adjourned sitting to Tuesday 25 July 2023. However, Mr Tsikata said his client’s case at the Supreme Court seeking judicial review of an earlier decision of the trial court, will come up for hearing on the same. The court decided to adjourn to Wednesday 26 July 2023 for further cross-examination of the first prosecution witness.