Western Togoland: Delay Tactics of State Prosecutors in Secission Trial Infuriate Judges
The judges of Accra High Court heavily criticized state prosecutors in the secession trial of the members of Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF) for curtailing the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the accused persons by causing deliberate delays in trial and retaining them in custody even after bail was granted.
The article below was published by GhanaWeb:
A three-member panel of the Accra High Court has descended heavily on state prosecutors and investigators in the case in which nine members of the Homeland Study Group Foundation (HSGF), who are allegedly planning to secede the Volta Region from the rest of Ghana, have been charged with various offences.
The panel chaired by Justice Jerome Nkrumah on Monday warned should the state appear in court at the next court date unprepared, they would live to regret.
The prosecutor, Mr Fred Awindago, a State Attorney had informed the court he was in court on Monday to pray for an adjournment to file additional evidence, a similar prayer prosecution made at the previous sitting.
Also, the court was informed that despite granting bail to all nine accused persons including the 85-year-old retired educationist, Kormi Kudzodzi (aka Papavi Hogbedetor), said to be the founder HSGF, they were still in custody.
It was the case of one detective Sergeant Alhaji Ali Ganani, an investigator in the case that, even though they have received documents of lands, they realised those properties are at a different location and need verification.
According to him, two weeks ago they had sent the document to the Volta Regional Lands Commission as well as in Greater Accra for verification but are yet to get feedback.
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The angry looking Justice Charles Ekow Baiden said he does not think they should state procedures to curtail the fundamental Human Rights of the accused persons.
He urged the state to be more focused on the case in order to expedite action on the matter. He, however, warned the state not to return to the court at the next court date to tell them stories.
He said if the state was not ready, they should inform the court for the accused persons to be discharged.
On her part, Justice Afia Serwah Asare Botwe warned the state might regret if they return to court at the next adjourned date to ask for time. He said in the era of technology, communications so easy to come by and therefore the state should not return to ask for days.
The panel chaired by Justice Nkrumah adjourned the matter to Monday, July 8.
According to the facts, as presented by the prosecution, the group calling itself the HSGF planned to secede the Volta Region from Ghana and declare it as an independent country called Western Togoland.
They claim that the Volta Region (Western Togoland) was formerly an independent state before being made to join Ghana in a plebiscite.
Eight of its members were arrested by a combined team of police and military men in a house in Ho while holding a meeting to finalise arrangements to declare the Volta Region an independent state on May 9, 20I9.
When the police intercepted their meeting, they found T-shirts with the inscriptions: “9th May is our day” and “A Citizen of Western Togoland”.
The police also found messages that revealed that Sgt Kwabla, the soldier, had given the group advance messages to hide their weapons due to a pending search by a combined team of the police and the military.
Photo courtesy of GhanaWeb