A top police officer in Ghana arrested for his alleged involvement in a ‘coup plot’ was put before court Wednesday without charges, causing his lawyers to challenge the authority of the lower court to proceed with the case.
Police prosecutors revealed in court that ACP Dr Benjamin Agordzo who was arrested on November 4 by the Bureau of National Investigations has only been cautioned, but not been charged yet.
They had gone to the Kaneshi District Court to seek a remand of ACP Dr Agordzo as they raced against time in meeting the 48-hour constitutional provision within which an arrested suspect must be put before court.
But the defence team led by Martin Kpebu raised preliminary objection, arguing the court has no jurisdiction in the case on the basis that it lacks authority to hear first degree felony cases such as the one against ACP Dr Agordzo.
The team cited Article 14(3) of the 1992 constitution.
Again, they argued no committal processes have been filed at the court for which reason the prosecution cannot hide behind committal proceedings to seek a remand of the their client.
A member of the defence legal team, Ms Hamdia Mohammed maintained that once the court lacks jurisdiction to grant bail, it cannot arrogate unto itself the power to remand the suspect.
She submitted that the prosecution intentionally brought the suspect to the court knowing that it has no jurisdiction to grant bail to the suspect.
It is an attempt by prosecutors to delay bail for the suspect, she indicated.
She prayed the court to hold on with the matter to allow them to seek interpretation on the issue at the Supreme Court.
But the police prosecution led by ASP Sylvester Asare disagreed with the argument of the defence and insisted there is nothing wrong with the processes they took.
He contended that ACP Dr Agordzo cannot be said not to be properly before the court, indicating his statement and charge sheet have duly been laid before the court.
For the prosecution, they were fulfilling the 48-hour constitutional provision.
“Your court is a court of first instance in issues or matters concerning indictable offenses,” he said, noting investigation into the instance case is currently ongoing for which reason they came to seek a remand.
ASP Asare said the state will “very soon” commence committal proceedings against the suspect.
The issue of jurisdiction, he said, “is of no issue” hence should not be entertained by the court.
“We are not here for committal proceedings,” he said.
After listening to the arguments by both sides, the court presided over by Eleanor Kakra Bans Botchwey fixed Friday, November 8 to rule on the preliminary objection.
The court explained it does not want to rush in deciding on the matter.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana