Court

Circuit Court presided over by Mr Felix Datsomor has set June 8 to rule on a bail application for alleged 21 LGBTQ+ members arrested in Ho for unlawful assembly.

Madam Julia Selma Ayetey, Counsel for the accused persons, prayed the court to grant them bail, arguing that the Police broke up a capacity-building workshop on human rights and thereby infringing on the Constitutional rights in the process.

“We cannot condone a situation where people attend a workshop on rights only to be arrested and have those very human rights they were learning about be trampled upon.”

She said the health of the accused persons must also be considered in an era of a global pandemic, citing conditions in the Police holding cells.

“Police had not produced any evidence to prove that the accused persons would not appear to stand trial, adding that none of them had ever been prosecuted before for any offense.”

Madam Ayetey argued that the act for which they were arrested was harmless and produced no victims, and no assault, robbery, or battery was recorded.

“Accused persons vetted to participate willingly in the workshop and there is no abuse to justify their remand,” she stated, adding that some of them were mothers whose minor children would be affected by their continuous stay in Police custody.

She described as erroneous the resolve of the Police to confine accused persons in a cell before seeking out evidence to justify the detention.

Counsel said the Police in their charge, “seemed to be eluding which rights the accused had abused” and did not state which rule required permission to organise a capacity building workshop.

She said there was no fact justifying a refusal of bail.

Several Constitutional rights of the accused were infringed upon and continued to be violated while they continue to be on remand for a misdemeanor, while many with more serious offences are granted bail.

“Every day in a Police cell is traumatising.”

“If ever there was a case that deserves bail, your honour, this is it. We humbly pray that bail is granted.”

Prosecuting, Chief Superintendent of Police, Mr Akolgo Yakubu Ayamga said the prosecution would not disagree with the bail application as Police had carried out its mandate, concluded its investigations, and forwarded the case docket to the Attorney General’s (AG’s) department for advice.

Mr Datsomor said he would like to give the submission a “careful thought” and thus adjourn the case to next Tuesday for ruling on the bail application.

Accused persons were arrested and charged for unlawful assembly, on May 20, at a hotel in Ho, where the group had assembled for alleged training.

The suspects were believed to be coming from the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Upper East, Upper West, Western, Eastern, Northern, and Volta regions.

Some materials titled “hate crime, LGBTQI Muslim, gender acronyms, coming out, my child, my love always, all about intersex, one love sisters Ghana” among others were found on them.

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