State Attorneys at the Attorney General’s Department are up in arms against ex-President JJ Rawlings and others who have alleged they did a shoddy job resulting in the acquittal and discharge of Alfred Woyome.
The livid attorneys have described such statements as “unwarranted and uninformed attacks” thus they take “serious exception” to them.
Businessman Woyome Thursday walked out of the High Court a free man after the court had held that the state had failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt in a Gh¢51.2 million judgment debt case.
“And in the instant case, I am of the considered opinion that the prosecution has failed woefully to prove beyond all reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused person,” the trial judge, Justice John Ajet-Nasam, ruled.
“I, therefore, acquit and discharge Alfred Agbesi Woyome on all charges brought against him,” the court stated, and noted that it was both “sad and sweeping” for the state to hold that Woyome deliberately made false representations to the government.
“The state failed to defend the action. It rather went into settlement of the case which led to the entry of judgement. I do not see any misrepresentation made to the court,” the judge said in reference to Woyome getting a default judgement from the Commercial Court in May 2010.
After the ruling, state attorneys have come under severe public backlash. However, they have described such flaks as “misplaced” in a statement issued on Friday.
“Attorneys prosecute a wide range of cases on daily basis in the courts and most of these cases are successfully prosecuted. These cases deal with the thousands of Ghanaian citizens who have been robbed, murdered, raped, defrauded, have properties stolen or suffered a myriad of crimes against their persons and property. Attorneys secure conviction in over 90% of these cases. Attorneys have also successfully prosecuted several high-profile cases over the years,” the statement said.
It added: “Talk is cheap. For learned friends, who should know better, to engage in attacks, sometimes personal, against Attorneys when cases are lost is most unprofessional. Some of these attacks are fuelled by wrong appreciation of the criminal law and process.
“In many instances, attorneys have won cases against some of these lawyers. We, however appreciate learned friends who have discussed these issues constructively.
“Judges, Attorneys and defence counsel are equal partners in the criminal justice system. It is therefore regrettable for one party to incite public sentiments against the other party for whatever reasons,” the statement said.
“The Attorney-General’s Office has very good and competent Attorneys who work their hearts out to serve the nation. We are all at risk if the public loses confidence in Attorneys and in the criminal justice system.
“Attorneys remain undaunted in our efforts to do what we think is right for society,” the statement assured.