Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Deeba's habeas corpus motion doesn't hold- Court

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
July 12, 2013

A Fast Track High Court in Accra has ruled that the Habeas Corpus (produce in person) motion filed by popular hip-life musician, Deeba Acheampong, cannot constitute an appeal against the order for his extradition to the United Kingdom where he is wanted for prosecution.

Lawyers for the musician who is alleged to have raped his eight-year old step daughter had argued that in extradition proceedings, habeas corpus application as captured by the extradition law was an appeal.

However, the court presided over by Justice Edward Amoako Asante rejected that argument describing it as “unfounded in law”, and gave the fugitive up to July 17 to file a proper appeal setting out the grounds and serve it on the Attorney General Department.

The court held that habeas corpus application in law means to produce the body of a person in detention and justify the continuous detention of the said person, and cannot be an appeal as argued by Augustine Obour, counsel for Deeba.

A Magistrate Court in Accra on June 7, 2013 ordered the extradition of Deeba to the United Kingdom to face five charges of rape in that country, after it found as a fact that a prima facie case had been made against him.

Under Section 2(b) of Act 244(1994), the State is required to prepare extradition report justifying that the person being extradited is not on political grounds, that there is extradition treaty between the two countries, the offence which the fugitive has been charged with exist in both laws and satisfy double criminality, and that there is reciprocity.

At the court’s hearing yesterday, Mr. Obour prayed the court to order the Registrar of the District Magistrate Court to forward the entire record of proceedings in the Deeba extradition trial to the High Court for the court to determine the basis of the committal of Deeba.

He told the court that they were challenging the order of the District Magistrate, saying “we believe the District Court erred”, and that it is not as if the order of the lower court was final in the case.

“We hold that there is no treaty between Ghana and UK,” he contended, adding “It is fair that the record is transferred so that we argue again as to whether the order was right or not”.

Responding, Senior State Attorney, Comfort Tasiame, said all that is required of them under Section 2(b) of Act 244 is to submit a report to the court which they have done, adding “nowhere is it indicated that habeas corpus is an appeal”.

The State Attorney said they have complied with the law, especially when they have filed the certificate of committal, arrest warrant from the UK, the warrant issued by the Interior Minister and the charge sheet.

She averred that the argument by counsel that the record of proceeding s from the lower court be transferred to the High Court in this instance is not in the country’s laws, indicating that habeas corpus in extradition case is not an appeal describing that as an erroneous.

The case stands adjourned to July 17.

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