Lawyers in the country are engaged in a raging debate as to whether the video and audio detailing alleged extortion and bribery by judges and staff of the courts in undercover investigations by ace journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas constitute entrapment.

Several lawyers have argued that Anas lured the 34 judges implicated in the scandal, but others disagree.

Another issue is the 14 judges suing the Judicial Council (JC) on grounds that the disciplinary action against them was contrary to law and/or due process.

The judges said the panel constituted by the Chief Justice to institute disciplinary proceedings against the plaintiffs has no legal basis and is, therefore, null and void.

The debates have left the ordinary Ghanaian who have little or no knowledge about the law confused and wondering what may eventually happen to the daring work done by Anas.

A former Senior State Attorney, Augustine Obour has accused ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas of luring the 34 judges implicated in his latest investigative piece.

He said inasmuch as Anas is obliged to carry out his duties as an investigative journalist, he does not have the right to invade people’s privacy.

He indicated that evidence should be proved beyond reasonable doubt that the judges named actually had the intent to collect bribes.

“Anas has used his profession to lure the judges and so if situations like that is to be investigated, they need to prove that indeed their (judges) corrupt acts was intentional or not,” he stated.

A criminal lawyer, Mr Obour said the evidence in the video may not be given much attention during trial because Anas has been forcing people into doing things beyond their control.

“I can assure you that if this matter is taken to court, the journalist might lose his case because his investigation is not genuine,” he asserted.

But one of Ghana’s finest legal brains, Lawyer Ace Anan Ankomah has stated that the judges and other court officials who have been implicated in the extortion and bribery scandal in undercover investigations by Anas cannot rely on entrapment to exclude the video and audio recordings as evidence in case of prosecution.

“Alleging entrapment will not wash,” he said in reaction to arguments by some lawyers that what Anas did amounts to entrapment and could not be relied on as evidence in court.

To buttress his point, he quoted Lord Hoffmann in R v. Loosley (2001) 4 All ER 897, which reads, “Entrapment occurs when an agent of the state—usually a law enforcement officer or a controlled informer—causes someone to commit an offence in order that he should be prosecuted.”

For him, Anas is not an agent of the state.

According to Lawyer Ankomah, the only bases for seeking to exclude this evidence would be on the inherent jurisdiction of the court to prevent abuse of its processes and then section 52 of Ghana’s Evidence Act.

“Those would take us squarely into the discretion of the court, as the court would be forced to consider whether admitting the video evidence that shows judges receiving money to subvert the cause/course of justice ‘will create substantial danger of unfair prejudice.’ This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

“Is it possible that some of the evidence would be tossed out and the accused persons will walk?” he asked.

Source: The Finder

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