Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Court adjourns state's appeal indefinitely

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 (Page 3 Lead)

THE Court of Appeal yesterday adjourned indefinitely the state’s appeal against the ruling of the Human Rights Division of the High Court which ordered the Director of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and two others to appear before it and openly answer contempt charges levelled against them by a former Minister of Information, Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng.
The matter was adjourned at the instance of a Chief State Attorney, Mrs Helen Kwawukume, who prayed the court to adjourn the case to enable certain corrections to be effected in processes filed by the state at the court’s registry.
Mr Justice G.M. Quaye is presiding over the matter, with Mr Justice Samuel Marful-Sau and Mr Justice C.J. Hoenyenugah as members.
Mr Asamoah-Boateng and his wife Zuleika, were in court.
On October 29, 2009, the court declined to grant a request by the Attorney-General’s (A-G’s) Department which had prayed it to hear the matter in camera in order to protect the identity of the respondents.
Mr Asamoah-Boateng, Zuleika, Nana Yaw Asamoah-Boateng and Andrew Asamoah-Boateng instituted the contempt action against the three respondents — Yaw Donkor, Josephine Gandawiri and Stephen Abrokwa — and the A-G for preventing them from travelling outside the country on two occasions without recourse to a court order.
In the court’s ruling on October 29, 2009, Mr Justice Dery disagreed with the A-G’s Department’s suggestion that it would be inimical for the identities of the respondents to be blown, stating that the BNI and the police enjoyed the same rights and protection.
He said he had carefully studied the Securities and Intelligence Act (Act 526) which clearly spelt out the rights of the police and the BNI as the same and for that reason “the BNI cannot be given special treatment”.
The contempt action was instituted when the four applicants were prevented from travelling outside the country on June 14, 2009 without any court order or warrant, following which they filed an application seeking an injunction to restrain the BNI from further preventing them from travelling without a court order.
While the application was pending, the applicants claimed the BNI again disregarded the action and prevented them from travelling on another date.
The substantive matter was adjourned to January 20, 2010.

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