The Court of Appeal has in a unanimous decision dismissed an application by Assin North Member of Parliament, James Gyakye Quayson to stay proceedings at the High Court.
His lawyers filed the application after the High Court dismissed a similar application on June 11, 2023.
The stay of proceedings application was aimed at getting the High Court to halt the trial of Mr. Quayson on a daily basis.
At the Court of Appeal on Wednesday, July 19, Quayson’s lawyer, Tsatsu Tsikata argued that proceedings at the court below have been tainted by events that affect the fair trial of the case.
But Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame in opposing the application referred to it as unmeritorious.
In his view, the alleged prejudicial comments did not have any effect on the decision of the High Court as those attributed to the president and other ministers were made after the decision of the court.
He rather accused Gyakye Quayson of using the application as a ploy to avoid trial.
According to him, the allegations of a predetermined agenda to jail the accused by his lawyers point to a strategy to avoid trial.
He urged the court to dismiss the application as no exceptional circumstances have been proved to warrant a stay of proceedings.
The three-member panel after considering the application dismissed it.
According to the court, no exceptional circumstances were raised to warrant a stay of proceedings, and the alleged prejudicial comments are extra-judicial which did not have any impact on the decision of the trial judge.
The Judges also ruled that the decision to hold the trial on day-to-day basis does not in any way affect Gyakye Quayson’s right to a fair trial.
Lawyers for the embattled Member of Parliament for the Assin North constituency last week moved an application for the High Court to stay proceedings to allow for the Court of Appeal to hear his appeal to review a decision by the trial judge to hear his case on a daily basis, but the plea was rejected.
Mr. Quayson thus run to the Court of Appeal to have the High Court’s ruling overturned, but he failed to make any progress.
The MP is going through trial at the High Court in Accra on charges of forgery and perjury.
Gyakye Quayson’s woes
The woes of Mr. Gyakye Quayson began with his declaration of intent to contest the Assin North Parliamentary elections in 2020 on the ticket of the opposition National Democratic Congress when a group called ‘Concerned Citizens of Assin North’ petitioned the Electoral Commission in the Central Region to withdraw the candidature of Mr. Quayson, arguing that he was a Canadian citizen.
Despite the petition, Mr Quayson managed to sail through to contest representing the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2020 parliamentary polls and got 17,498 votes representing (55.21%) while Abena Durowaa Mensah, the New Patriotic Party’s candidate had 14,193 representing (44.79%).
Following Mr. Quayson’s victory, a resident of Assin Bereku in the Central Region, filed a petition at the Cape Coast High Court seeking to annul the declaration of him as the MP of Assin North.
The Cape Coast High Court upheld the request and declared the 2020 parliamentary election held in the Assin North Constituency as null and void because Mr Quayson breached the provisions of the constitution with regard to dual citizenship.
Although he went to the Supreme Court to seek redress, Mr. Quayson was disappointed as the apex court ordered Parliament to expunge his name from its records.
A by-election was subsequently held in which Mr. Quayson won by a landslide victory.
NDC MPs boycott Parliament
The MPs who make up the Minority Caucus in Parliament also decided to boycott Parliament on days Mr. Quayson is expected to be in court in solidarity with their comrade.
This decision has been criticised by the members of the Majority Caucus.