Ambulance case: Sammy Gyamfi engages in heated exchange with Justice Asare-Botwe in court

There was a heated exchange between the Communications Officer for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi, and a judge, Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, in the ambulance purchase trial on Tuesday, May 28.

This occurred in open court when the trial against Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, the Minority Leader in Parliament, resumed on Tuesday.

The exchange began after Justice Asare-Botwe took exception to some comments made by Sammy Gyamfi.

The NDC official insisted that he would not accept certain characterisations from the judge, leading to a more intense trade of words.

The back and forth continued until the former Attorney General, Marrietta Brew Appiah-Oppong who was in court to support the Minority Leader intervened and called for calm.

The judge then invited the parties together with Sammy Gyamfi and the former Attorney General Marrieta Brew Appiah-Oppong into her chambers.

Speaking to JoyNews after the hearing, the National NDC Communications Officer indicated that “the particular reference to me was something that in my humble opinion the court got wrong.”

“And I took the opportunity to draw the court’s attention to the fact that the said comment was not about this court or the presiding judge in its trial.”

On the exact comment, Sammy Gyamfi explained that “It was a hypothetical statement, that if you have an Attorney General, who can call an accused person on the blindside of his lawyer, when he knows that the ethics of the Bar is against that, then that person certainly can call a…, then I said whatever I said, it was not in reference to this.

“And I think that you will see incontrovertible evidence to show that, that hypothetical statement I made is actually a fact and that, that person is in the business of calling judges and meeting judges. Not in the instant case but you will see the facts for yourself,” he said.

Before this incident, Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe warned parties involved in the case to tone down on their submissions and assertions outside of the court.

According to her, any attempt by any individual to scandalise the court will not be tolerated.

Addressing the gathering ahead of the commencement of Tuesday’s hearing, Justice Asare-Botwe however noted that she will not be swayed by the commentaries going on outside the courtroom.

She also warned the parties involved in the trial to desist from attempting to manipulate public opinions ahead of her judgment.

The warning by the sitting judge follows ongoing debate in the media space after the third accused, Richard Jakpa made some allegations against the Attorney-General, Godfred Dame Yeboah.

Mr Jakpa said in open court that the Attorney-General had on several occasions engaged him at odd hours to incriminate the first accused and Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson.

“If he pushes me, I will open the Pandora’s box. I don’t understand why the A-G will accuse me of defending A1 [Ato Forson] when I’m here to defend myself,” Mr Jakpa added during court proceedings on Thursday, May 23, 2024.

Consequently, Justice Asare-Botwe called the Attorney-General and lawyers of Ato Forson into her chambers for a meeting that lasted for about 30 minutes. The statements by Mr Jakpa were then put on record.

Although the A-G’s office has since responded to the allegations, describing the statement as false and misleading, many are skeptical.

Amidst calls for the resignation of the Attorney-General, some private legal practitioners are asking for a special probe into the conduct of Godfred Dame.

Meanwhile, both the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) are set to hold separate press conferences today, Tuesday, May 28 on the matter.

Source: Kenneth Awotwe Darko 

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