The Supreme Court has set October 26, 2021, to rule on the application to have Justice Honyenuga removed from hearing the criminal trial of former COCOBOD Chief Executive Officer, Dr Stephen Kwabena Opuni.
This comes after Attorney General Godfred Dame filed for a review arguing that Mr Opuni’s right to be heard fairly had been breached by the judge, aside from a demonstration of bias.
In July 2021, Dr Opuni’s lawyers applied to the Supreme Court to restrain Justice Honyenuga from hearing the matter.
He alleged that his right to be heard fairly had been breached by the judge, aside from a demonstration of bias.
The allegations flowed from Justice Honyenuga’s ruling on a submission of no case application. Dr Opuni’s lawyers contended that the judge committed an error of law when he rejected some documents submitted as evidence.
The documents were witness statements said to have been obtained by the state during investigations. One is a statement by the Head of the Cocoa Research Institute, denying that he had been coerced to do his work.
Dr Opuni’s lawyers said this and other related statements were withheld by state prosecutors and only made available when they applied for them.
Justice Honyenuga, however, rejected the claims.
The lawyers contended that this position taken by the judge is contrary to law. However, the Supreme Court, in its judgment, took the view that these statements were admissible.
Following a majority decision upholding an argument of bias against the trial judge, a Supreme Court Justice, Clemence Honyenuga, the A-G subsequently filed for a review.
Attorney General, Godfred Dame, filed for a review following a majority decision upholding an argument of bias against the trial judge, a Supreme Court Justice, Clemence Honyenuga.
According to Mr Dame, the July 28 decision, among other things, “contained fundamental and grave errors which have manifestly resulted in a substantial miscarriage of justice.”
He believes it “effectively ignored the time-honoured fundamental and mandatory preconditions for an invocation of the Supreme Court’s supervisory jurisdiction for an order of certiorari to quash an alleged error contained in a decision of a Superior Court”.
Justice Gertrude Tokornoo and Justice Ashie Kotey have been added to the five earlier Justices; Jones Dotse, Gabriel Pwamang, Agnes Dodzie, Tanko Amadu and Avril Lovelace-Johnson, for the review application.