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SCANDAL…Drug Convict "Left Off The Hook", Granted Bail & Leaves Ghana   
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Amazing things are happening within the corridors of the Judiciary, the Attorney-General's Department, and the Prisons Service.

On 26th of April, 2007, Ellis Tamakloe was convicted by an Accra High Court presided over by Justice Irismay Brown (Mrs.) for the offences (a): An attempt to export narcotic drug contrary to Section 56(a) and (1) of the NARCOTIC DRUG LAW, PNDC L236 and (b): Possessing narcotic drug contrary to Section 2 of PNDC L 236, and was subsequently on the 10th day of May, 2007, sentenced to 10 years imprisonment (I.H.L.).

On the 6th of November, 2008, the Court of Appeal by a unanimous decision affirmed the conviction and sentence of the Trial (High) Court. Dissatisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeal, Ellis Tamakloe further appealed to the Supreme Court against his conviction and sentence. However, on 17th of February, 2010, the Supreme Court presided over by Justice William Atuguba, dismissed his appeal and upheld the decisions of both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

Still not satisfied and in pursuit of his legitimate rights, Ellis applied to the Supreme Court for a review of its earlier decision confirming the decisions of the High Court and the Court of Appeal. The Seven (7) - member Review Panel of the Supreme Court presided over by Justice Atuguba with the exception of Justice Baffoe-Bonnie, on 20th January, 2011, dismissed the application for review and affirmed its earlier decision.

And as if to clearly indicate to the applicant (Ellis Tamakloe) and his counsel that they were at a dead end and that the door for further litigation in a court of law was firmly closed, Justice Atuguba in his concluding remarks, underscored that: " It is obvious however that if the cloudy escape of Harry Campell is scrutinized with regard to the facts on record by those with the requisite expertise and found to have been orchestrated then some executive intervention by way of the presidential prerogative under article 72 of the constitution in respect of at least the appellant(as opposed to the 1st accused who on the evidence is a factory of criminality) might be relevant. This is however entirely a matter for the appellant and his advisors. It is for the foregoing that though we came close to granting this application, upon a full and anxious consideration of the same we are constrained to dismiss the same".

As indicated the only dissenting opinion was expressed by Justice Baffoe-Bonnie to the effect that " For my part, keeping the applicant in jail on the parroted grounds that there are no exceptional "circumstances that have occasioned a miscarriage of justice" and that to review means giving him a second chance to re-argue, is a violation of the constitution which we swore an oath to uphold. I believed then, and I still believe, that the applicant was wrongly convicted by the trial High Court and same confirmed on appeal. We piled a multitude of suspicions together and made proofs out of them. We failed to give the benefit of the doubt to the applicant and most importantly we misapplied the rule on the use of circumstantial evidence, which this court has laid down in its previous decisions".

He continued: “It is my humble view that the applicant is in jail serving a term of imprisonment for an offence which the prosecution did not fully prove he committed. His continued incarceration is a breach of the constitution. If these are not exceptional circumstances that call for a review of our decision, then I do not know what else it is. For my part I humbly believe that, the desire to achieve the liberty of the human person should not be sacrificed on the altar of expediency of finality of judgments. After all it is often said it is better to set free 99 guilty persons than convict one innocent person. It is for these reasons that I will grant the application and quash the conviction".

Justices Jones Dotse, Julius Ansah, Sophia Adinyira, AninYeboah and B.T. Aryeetey had all concurred with the majority decision read by the President of the Court, Justice William Atuguba.

Notwithstanding the clear indication given by Justice Atuguba as recaptured in earlier paragraphs, some amazing and intriguing legal engineering appears to have taken place within the corridors of the Judiciary, the Attorney-General's Department and the Prisons Service which has strangely resulted in Ellis Tamakloe being "left off the hook" on a bail purportedly granted by an Accra High Court; thus making complete nonsense of the legal point made by Justice Atuguba.

Information available to The New Crusading GUIDE indicates that some ‘unconventional’ post-review legal processes were initiated on behalf of Ellis Tamakloe in an Accra High Court seeking “bail pending appeal” on the basis of alleged violation of his fundamental human rights. It was argued that the Trial Court convicted and sentenced him to a 10- year imprisonment(IHL) without taking into consideration the fact that he had already "served' some time in prison while on trial. Apparently, a first attempt at securing the bail on those grounds failed when it was contested by the Attorney-General's Dept.

A subsequent attempt before a new judge in the High Court proved positive resulting in Ellis being granted “bail pending appeal”! Officials from the AG's Dept. reportedly arrived late at the High Court. The application for bail had already been heard and granted. And Ellis was "entitled" to be released from Prison custody which was subsequently done. The next thing he did was to book a flight out of the Ghanaian jurisdiction apparently enroute to “the land of freedom”.

Legal pundits, who spoke to our investigators, contended there was no sustainable legal basis for any legal processes post-review as had happened in Ellis Tamakloe's case. They argued that the claim of alleged violation of his fundamental human rights could and should have been canvassed during his appeals at the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court (at the first instance) and wondered how that could possibly have become the grounds for " an application for bail pending appeal" especially after he had lost a review application at the Supreme Court (at the second instance).

They agreed with the "unsolicited advice" given to applicant and his "advisors" by Justice Atuguba to the effect that " some executive intervention by way of the presidential prerogative under article 72 of the constitution in respect of at least the appellant.......might be relevant" and wondered why that option was not chosen by the "advisors" and counsel of Ellis.

“If what is being reported is true then the integrity of the Judiciary has been compromised and the Chief Justice must intervene to find out what happened at the High Court. The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice must also find out what might have transpired at her end. Was her office/department duly served with the legal processes and if yes what was its response and if no what are the implications? The present Deputy Attorney-General, Dominic Ayini was part of Ellis Tamakloe's Defence Team at a certain point in time and so it is in his interest and that of his office that this strange and sordid matter is properly investigated. The Prison Service may be the least offending player in the whole drama but its managers must double check the authenticity of the court records which "enabled" them to release a convict prisoner on bail pending an appeal when that convict prisoner's failure to win a review application was known to the Prison Authorities. Finally, who were the lawyers who did the legal engineering and got a High Court judge to grant the relief they had sought. Maybe, just maybe, the General Bar Association(GBA) and the General Legal Council(GLC) would have to conduct some disciplinary enquiry to uphold the ethical integrity of the legal profession", observed a Good Governance analyst who spoke to this paper on condition of anonymity.

Please stay tuned for further developments.....
Source: Special Investigations Team (SIT) New Crusading Guide/Ghana

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