Drama unfolded at the Criminal Court 5 Division of the High Court on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, in a case where four persons are standing trial for allegedly kidnapping three Canadian girls in Ghana.
When the case was called at 10.00 am, Oliver Twum Abada, the lawyer for the first accused, was absent.
For over thirty minutes, the court had to wait for him to begin proceedings.
He was scheduled to continue with cross-examination of the prosecution’s Witness at 10.00 am.
Not impressed by the turn of events, trial Judge, Justice Lydia Osei Marfo, directed the first accused person, Sampson Agharlor, to continue with the cross-examination of the witness.
Pleas by the accused person for an adjournment to enable the lawyer to make it to the cross-examination were not heard, as Justice Marfo insisted on her directive.
She said the accused person had taken the magnanimity of the court for granted and had needlessly dragged the cross-examination of the witness.
She said the accused person was also in the habit of delaying the processes and threatened to discharge the witness if the accused person could not, or failed to conduct the cross-examination.
“From your own submissions, your lawyer knew he ought to be here at 10.00 am to cross-examine PW10. He has been in the box for far too long. This witness is not coming back after today [Tuesday], because it’s an insult to me,” the judge said.
Eventually, Justice Lydia Osei Marfo graciously gave another chance; “I will give you few minutes to get in touch with your lawyer, or you would have to go ahead with the cross-examination”.
In between this time, however, a panting lawyer Oliver Twum Abada entered the courtroom, full of apologies for delaying the time of the court.
He told the court he had spent his time at the circuit court representing “vulnerable and marginalized” persons.
But the already fed-up Justice Marfo directed, Counsel for the 1st accused, Oliver Twum Abada, to fast track the cross-examination of the witness.
While this was happening, Senior State Attorney, Hilda Craig, brought to the attention of the court that the first accused person, Sampson Agharlor, had directed some unidentified individuals to her [prosecutor’s] office over the case.
Alarmed by this, the court quizzed the accused person, who disclosed that his relatives from Nigeria had come to inquire about why he was in detention all this while.
Justice Marfo said it was wrong for “strangers” to have had direct contact with the prosecutor on the matter.
She said all interactions on the case with strangers should be through the Prisons Service.
Sampson Agharlor, Elvis Ojiyorwe, Jeff Omarsar, and Yusif Yakubu are standing trial on charges of conspiracy to kidnap and kidnapping.
They are accused of various roles in the events leading up to the kidnapping of two Canadian ladies, Lauren Patricia Catherine Tiley and Bailey Jordan Chilly.
The event is said to have occurred on June 4, 2019, at Kumasi Royal Golf Club, while the two University of New Brunswick students (then) were participating in a youth program in Ghana.
They were however rescued physically unhurt, according to police and medical reports.