Monday, April 30, 2012
KEN AGYAPONG GRANTED BAIL
April 20, 2012 (Lead Story) THERE was spontaneous jubilation within and outside the Accra Fast Track High Court this afternoon when the Member of Parliament for Assin North, Kennedy Agyapong was granted bail in the sum of GHC200, 000 with one surety to be justified. The MP, who looked visibly excited, was also bonded to be of good behavior until the final determination of the criminal action brought against him by the state. Held on three counts of treason felony, attempted genocide and engaging in terrorism act for allegedly inciting Ashantis against Ewes and Gas as well as declaring war, Agyapong has been in custody since Monday, April 16, 2012. The MP, who had turned into an instant hero finally emerged at 4:47 p.m. He was decorated in party colours and was carried shoulder high with loads of talcum powder sprinkled all over his body. The crowd's deafening noise died down eventually after the MP emerged. The thick crowd trooped out of the court premises and marched to the party headquarters to continue with their jubilation. Hundreds of supporters, who were for the past few days noted for being loud and unruly, stood outside the courtroom and kept mute throughout the proceedings but shouted in jubilation immediately word got out that the MP had been granted bail. They chanted, sang, danced, with some laying on the floor in excitement, remained resolute and vowed to stay at the court premises until the MP came out. It took the intervention of the General Secretary of the NPP, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie’s to bring the overly excited crowd under control around 4:43 p.m. while the MP signed the necessary documents at the court’s registry. Executives of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), former Ministers of State, NPP Members of Parliament and party supporters trooped towards the MP to shake hands with him immediately the presiding judge rose to his chambers. Agyapong was granted bail by the Human Rights Court in the sum of GHC200,000 with two sureties, one to be justified around 9.00 a.m. today but was hurled back to the Fast Track High Court around 12:23 p.m. by the prosecution to face another court. The Fast Track High Court, presided over by Mr. Justice Charles Quist, granted bail to the accused person after his lead counsel, Mr. Ayikoi Otoo, had prayed the court to grant him bail on the grounds that the facts upon which the MP was being held did not support the charges leveled against him. It upheld the defence team’s argument that the charges leveled against the MP did not support the evidence on ground and accordingly advised the prosecution to rethink the charges and look into the Criminal Procedure Code which spelt out a different charge for such utterance. It said while recognizing the right of individuals to free speech, the right to free speech was not absolute and accordingly urged political party leaders to be guarded by the tenets of the Constitution and act appropriately. Mr. Justice Quist then advised the prosecution to take a critical look at the charges preferred against the MP and weigh it against the evidence and determine whether or not the charges were appropriate under the circumstance. After granting the bail, Mr. Otoo, prayed the court to direct the police to keep the accused person in court while the bail and bond processes were being worked out. The court upheld counsel’s submission and directed the Registrar to facilitate the execution of the bail bond within the court premises. Some of the excited party activists trooped out the court room, joined their colleagues outside and embarked on a talcum powder sprinkling exercise. Some of them returned to the courtroom with talcum powder on their faces and clothes. Countering Mr. Anthony Rexford Wiredu, a Principal State Attorney’s prayer for remand of the MP, Mr. Otoo argued that his client had not attacked any arm of government. He submitted that what the MP was reported to have said on the radio station amounted to political talk and accordingly prayed the court to bring the political temperature down by granting the MP bail. He accused the prosecution of deliberately preferring such serious charges against his client in a deliberate attempt to remand him in custody. Mr. Otoo said the law permitted the court to grant his client bail and assured the court that the MP would avail himself for trial. He further argued that he was a Ga from James Town and therefore, saw nothing wrong with the MP’s statement. Mr. Otoo, therefore, prayed the court not to allow the prosecution to use the court to deprive the MP of his freedom among others. Earlier, Mr. Wiredu, read the brief background of the MP’s alleged treasonable statement, prayed the court to remand him because the prosecution had witnesses to prosecute the MP. He also mentioned how some unruly NPP activists vandalized his vehicle and some vehicles at the Police Headquarters and accordingly prayed the court to remand the MP in custody. One of the defence lawyers, Mr Atta Akyea, accused the state of hatching a grand design by preferring what he termed a “gargantuan charge” to warrant the incarceration of the MP. He reminded the court that the international community was monitoring events in Ghana and accordingly prayed the court to grant Agyapong bail. The court took into account the arguments from the prosecution and the defence and accordingly granted the accused person bail.