Court orders Attorney General to furnish Dr Opuni with documents

An Accra High Court has ordered the Attorney General (AG) to furnish Dr Stephen Opuni, the former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD within seven days all documents it intended to rely in the prosecution of him.

Dr Opuni and Seidu Agongo, both accused relied on Article 19(2) (e) and (g) and requested the AG to provide them all documents including those it will not rely on in the course of the trial.

The court presided over by Justice Clemence Honyenugah, an Appeal Court Judge, sitting as an additional High Court Judge said the Supreme Court’s ruling on a similar case needed no interpretation.

He said the documents would will enable the accused to prepare effectively for their defence.

The Supreme Court constituted by the seven member panel unanimously decided last week that an accused was entitled to all prosecution witness statements even if the statements would not be tendered in court.

The court also held that accused must be given all exhibits that the prosecution would tender as evidence.

This would enable accused to plea bargain or also build their defence.

The court however stated that the disclosures were subject to certain conditions such as its relevance, the public good, state security among others.

The apex court ruled “the duty of disclosure is not absolute. It is at the discretion of prosecution and same should be made at a reasonable time and that is also subject to a review by a court.

The court further held that disclosures could be made at the beginning of a trial or at the end if there were additional issues.

In cases where documents were being tendered during trial lawyers could seek an adjournment to study those documents.

The accused are facing a total of 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretence, wilfully causing financial loss to the state, money laundering, corruption by public officer and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.

They pleaded not guilty and have been granted a GH¢300,000.00 each self-recognisance bail by the court.

The case has been adjourned to July 4 for the trial to commence.

Credit: GNA

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