Capital Bank trial: Your application is frivolous – Judge tells Ato Essien
The High Court in Accra hearing the case in which William Ato Essien and two others are standing trial for their roles leading to the collapse of Capital Bank has dismissed yet another application from Ato Essien.
Ato Essien, the founder of the defunct Capital Bank through his lawyers moved an application seeking a Stay of Proceedings pending a determination of an appeal at the Court of Appeal.
But Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, the trial judge who is also a Justice at the Court of Appeal dismissed the application for lack of merit.
The court held that, with the nature of the application, no serious court will entertain it because no exceptional grounds have been laid to warrant its grant.
Moving the application for a Stay of Proceedings, Lawyer Baffour Gyau Bonsu Ashia said the application was premised on a ruling of the trial court on June 9.
“We have before you a motion on notice praying this honourable court for an order staying proceedings in this court pending a determination of an appeal filed against the ruling of this court dated 9/6/22,”
While relying on the motion papers and the supporting affidavits, counsel argued that, a reading of their notice of appeal will show that they have raised serious legal issues to be determined at the appellate court.
He also contended that special circumstances exist to warrant a grant of this application.
“The special circumstance in this instance is that the admission of the pendrive which contains the audio recording of the confrontation between Special Investigation Team and the first accused person (Ato Essien) will injure the defence of the first accused person,” he contended.
To this end, counsel prayed the court to stay its own proceedings pending a determination of the appeal filed.
The prosecution led by Mrs Marina Appiah-Opare, a Chief State Attorney, opposed to the application and held that the applicant has not demonstrated any special circumstances that warrant the grant of the application.
Justice Eric Kyei Baffour after listening to the parties dismissed the application as frivolous and one that lacks merit.
“I have considered the application and heard learned counsel for the applicant,” the court said.
“It is trite that Stay of Proceedings pending an appeal is a discretionary exercise of the inherent powers of a court and it may be granted when the court is of the opinion that an applicant has demonstrated exceptional circumstances necessitating a trial court to Stay its Proceedings for a party to pursue an interlocutory appeal.
“Examining the nature of the application and the depositions contained in the affidavit in support and the attached exhibits leaves any serious court with only one choice that the application is nothing but frivolous, for exhibit 31 that has been admitted has nothing in it that suggests that the privacy of first accused was breached in any manner,” the court said.
“The content shows that he was cautioned before he spoke and that he spoke in the presence of a lawyer and a state attorney.
“The claim that the interlocutory appeal raises serious issues of law cannot be correct.
Consequently, the judge said, “I dismiss the application as totally without merit.”
So far, the state has closed its case after calling 17 witnesses.
William Ato Essien, the first accused person and Tettey Nettey, the second accused person have both closed their case.
Rev. Fitzgerald Odonkor, Managing Director of the defunct Capital Bank is currently under cross-examination and is expected to end his testimony before the end of June.
They have all pleaded not guilty to a combined 23 charges and have been granted bail.