Lawyers for the #FixTheCountry Movement campaigner suffered an embarrassing-dressing down at the Supreme Court Monday when the court questioned why they have failed to push for bail for at the High Court but rather seek the intervention of the apex court.
In what appears to be a back and forth in court the Justice Jones Dotse-led panel engaged lawyers for Oliver Barker Vormawor – who has been in detention for days.
“You have an individual’s liberty at stake. You embark on this journey to this Court. You want us to interpret this constitution in a mixed application. Your duty is to protect your client’s rights. Your priorities are mixed”, panel member Justice Yonny Kulendi was quoted by myjoyonline.com as saying.
“Is this the time for this intellectual exercise? Should you not be taking a pragmatic approach,” another panel member Gertrude Torkonoo further quizzed.
Lawyers for the youth activist dragged the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Attorney-General (AG) to the Supreme Court, challenging the decision to put their client before a district court rather than a court that could determine his liberty.
They wanted the Court to determine whether the Police have discharged their constitutional duty by sending their client to a court with no jurisdiction to consider a bail application.
According to them, the ruling of the High Court ‘B’, Tema, dated February 17, 2022, entails a grave error of law which error is patent on the face of the record.
The Applicants are, by their motion, praying the Court to exercise its discretion to grant the following reliefs:
a. “Make an order of certiorari to issue to the High Court ‘B’, Tema, to bring up to this honourable Court to have quashed its ruling dated February 17, 2022, which was given under the hand of His Lordship, the judge, Justice Daniel Mensah, J., refusing to issue a writ of habeas corpus subjiciendum in respect of the Detained directed at the Respondents, their agents, assigns and workmen howsoever described or styled.
b. “Give a true and proper interpretation of whether by sending a person they have restricted, arrested or detained to a court which has no jurisdiction to consider an application for bail in respect of the person who is restricted, arrested or detained, the Police have discharged their duty under Article 14(3) of the 1992 Constitution.
The judges questioned why the lawyers had failed to heed the advice of two lower courts to make an application for bail simply.
Deputy Attorney General Diana Asonaba Dapaah informed the Court the AG’s office finds the application procedurally improper.
Lawyers for the youth activist at this stage informed the Court of wanting to withdraw the application. The Application was therefore struck out as withdrawn.
The case was heard by Justices Jones Dotse, Nene Amegatcher, Gertrude Tokorno, Ashie Kotey, and EmmanuelYonny Kulendi.
Oliver Barker-Vormawor is accused of plotting to stage a coup and charged with the offence of treason felony.
Vormawor remanded until March 15
The Ashaiman District Court remanded a convener of the #FixTheCountry, Oliver Barker-Vomarwor to Police custody for another two weeks.
The activist is expected to reappear in court on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.
This was after the Court ordered the removal of Mr. Baker-Vomarwor from its premises.
The defendant is said to have engaged in heated exchanges with the Magistrate, Eleanor Barnes Botwe.
Mr. Barker-Vormawor’s lawyer, Justice Srem Sai, had raised issues with the jurisdiction of the Ashaiman District Court to preside over a matter that bordered on the personal liberty of his client.
“Whether this court has the jurisdiction to determine the personal liberty of my client, for there is no point in bringing the prisoner to a court for his liberty to be decided when that court has no capacity or jurisdiction to determine this,” the lawyer argued.
However, the State Prosecutor, ASP Sylvester Asare, responded that the case was at the right forum since the charge of treason felony levelled against him is an indictable offence.
He argued that the trial of such cases must commence at the District court.
Mr. Barker-Vormawor was charged with a treason felony on February 14, 2022. This is an offence provided for in Section 182(b) of Ghana’s Criminal offences Act.
“A person is guilty of treason-felony and shall be punishable for first-degree felony who:
b) prepares or endeavours to carry out by unlawful means, any enterprise which usurps the executive power of the State in any matter of both a public and a general nature.“
The youth activist is accused of threatening to stage a coup should the E-Levy policy be passed.
“If this E-Levy passes after this cake bullshit, I will do the coup myself. Useless Army!” he posted on Facebook on February 9.
He was subsequently arrested on Friday, February 11, 2022.
According to the Police, Mr. Barker-Vormawor’s “post contains a clear statement of intent with a possible will to execute a coup in his declaration of intent to subvert the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.”
In court on February 14, lawyers for Mr Barker-Vormawor, led by Anthony Akoto Ampaw, urged the court to grant him bail, but the Court declined the request.