An Accra High Court has dismissed a motion to strike out three out of the five perjury charges against the suspended Assin North MP James Gyakye Quayson.
Counsel for the accused led by Tsatsu Tsikata had prayed the court to strike out the third, fourth and fifth charges on grounds that they need the Supreme Court’s interpretation.
The charges he sought to strike out are knowingly making a false statutory declaration, perjury, and a false declaration for office.
According to Mr. Tsikata, “due process in a criminal charge requires an accused to be aware of the elements of the charge that has been brought against him, and that is why the issues of Article 94 (2)(a) are key in the matter.”
He insisted the particulars of offence in respect of the three charges were not sufficient to inform his client on why he was being charged.
The Attorney General’s Office however opposed the move.
They urged the court to dismiss the application on the grounds that the particulars of the offences give sufficient information to enable the accused to respond to the charges.
A State Attorney, Dorcas Felli, said it was rather within the court’s purview to make a pronouncement as to whether the state had established a prima face case after which the accused could make a submission of no case.
While describing the move as a clear application to waste the time of the court, she maintained that proceeding with the trial will not in any way violate Mr. James Gyakye Quayson’s right to a fair trial.
“All particulars are precise enough to give accused persons what the charges are about,” the State Attorney added.
After listening to the parties, the trial judge Mary Maame Ekue Nsenkyire dismissed the application.
The trial judge explained that the accused had no burden to prove his innocence adding, “it is the duty of the prosecution to prove its case”.
“Accused can decide to remain mute throughout the trial since the ultimate plea lies with the prosecution”.
The case has been adjourned to July 12 for continuation.
The facts by the prosecution indicated that Mr. Quayson was charged with the offences following a complaint by Richard Takyi-Mensah, a teacher, and subsequent investigations by the police.
On 26 July 2019, Mr. Quayson is said to have applied for a Ghanaian passport and indicated on the application form that he did not have dual citizenship.
But per the facts, the accused, at the time, held Canadian citizenship issued to him on 30 October 2016.
He, however, failed to declare same on the application form. The passport application of the accused person was vetted on 29 July 2019.
The prosecution said that based on this false information, together with the other information provided by the accused person on the passport application form, he was issued a Ghanaian passport on 2 August 2019.
Sometime in October 2020, Mr. Quayson picked up nomination forms from the Electoral Commission (EC) to contest the Assin North parliamentary seat but failed to indicate that he had dual citizenship.
Mr. Quayson was issued a renunciation certificate of his Canadian citizenship on 26 November 2020, about 48 days after he had made the false statutory declaration and filed his nomination forms.
These are the facts for which the embattled legislator is in court.