Folks I have been enjoying some quietness for sometime,whiles still keenly following issues in the public dormain.
For some days now, calls have intensified from all angles calling on the Attorney General to enter a nolle prosequi that would terminate the needless criminal proceedings against the now sworn in MP for Assin North, James Gyakye-Quayson.
What has warranted this piece is the rather ludicrous statement supposedly authored by the Attorney General Godfred Dame as a response to the numerous wise counsel coming from distinguished members of the legal profession who are way more senior than Mr.Dame at the bar.
The very sour taste of contempt left in the mouth of many who have read Mr.Dame’s response would linger on for quite some time, emphasis on mine.
The import of Mr.Dame’s argument is that the State’s decision to pursue criminal prosecution is never hinged on public interest and that once the State suspects that a crime has been committed, it’s prosecutorial powers must be activated irrespective!
At this point it is very important to re-emphasize the point that perhaps Mr.Dame is haunted by his own inexperience and at this level where life and death decisions are made, it’s not even funny.
Mr.Dame’s outburst is so nourished with emotions and yet so deficient in law that one would wonder if indeed the author is a lawyer…
If indeed the author is a lawyer, how then can the AG forget that, the entire criminal justice system or criminal law if you like, is hinged on public interest and that the main aim of criminal law is to control the behavior of society?
To create an orderly society for economic and social development?
Is that not public interest in capital letters?
How can the learned Attorney General conveniently forget that apart from strict liability offenses, even when an offence has been committed, the law requires that the intention behind the conduct should also be interrogated before punishment is accorded and that it also only when the actus reus (the conduct) and the mens rea (intention behind the conduct) are adequately determined that punishments are meted accordingly?
Isn’t this elementary criminal law?
In any case assuming without admitting that the public interest question is not even a basis for the grant of nolle prosequi, then what question was answered when the State filed a nolle prosequi in the case of *Owusu vrs The Republic* in 2022?
What was the basis of the nolle prosequi filed by the AG in 2017 in the case of *The Republic vrs Delta Force Members?*
What about the case of *Aisha Huang vrs the Republic* in which a nolle prosequi was entered in December 2018 by the State?
Wouldn’t the learned AG have made a better argument if he had set out the basis for these nolle prosequi’s entered by the State and how the circumstances behind those cases differs from the Gyakye-Quayson’s case on the basis of which he disagrees with the calls made by the learned seniors?
Isn’t it trite that at all fronts, either public interest or justice which the law and the State are so much obliged to administer or in the development of the law, Mr.Quayson’s case meet all the necessary criteria required for the State to enter a nolle prosequi in any criminal trial for that reason such revered learned seniors are recommending same?
For how long would Mr.Dame continue to allow this cocktail of childish emotions and political sentimentalism hijack the office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Justice, an institution so built to facilitate, complement and enable the administration of Justice in Ghana?
How can citizens comfortably trust that the State and the criminal justice system would ever do Justice to them under such an emotional Minister of Justice?
Shouldn’t this case also intensify the calls for the decoupling of the office of the Attorney General from the Ministry of Justice?
Think about it!
Executive Director, ASEPA