Treason felony: Barker-Vormawor refuses to plead to fresh charges in open Court

#FixTheCountry convener Oliver Barker-Vormawor who has been arraigned and charged with two counts of treason felony has refused to plead to charges in open court.

This was after the Prosecution upon orders of the court amended their previous charge sheet which was defective and his plea was being taken.

In court on Thursday, June 1, 2023, when the case was called and the amended charges read to him, Oliver Barker-Vormawor said, he exercises his rights under Section 238 of the Criminal Offences Code not to respond to the charges.

“Count 1,” read out by the Clerk and after the particular of the offence were read and asked by the Clerk, “Oliver Barker-Vormawor are you guilty or not guilty,” he responded by saying “I want to exercise my rights under Sections 238 of the Criminal Code not to plead to the charges.”

He repeated the same response for the second count which is also a treason felony.

The Criminal Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Mary Maame Ekue Yanzu after making references to statutes entered a not guilty plea for the accused on both counts.

According to EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, the court has fixed June 7 to empaneled the jury.

His lawyers led by Dr Justice Srem-Sai have also filed a motion asking the court for their client’s passport to be released to him which would also be considered on the same day.

The accused person is currently on bail.

The Ashaiman District Court had on August 1, 2022, committed him for trial at the High Court for two counts of Treason felony.

Oliver Barker-Vormawor, was indicted by the State on two counts of treason felony contrary to section 182(b) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) and treason felony contrary to section 182(b) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).

Section 238—Refusal to Plead

Per section 238 of the Criminal Offense Act, Act 1960 stipulates as follows;

If any accused being arraigned upon, or charged with, any indictment, stands mute of malice, or neither will, nor by reason of infirmity can answer directly to the indictment, the Court, if it thinks fit, may cause a plea of “not guilty” to be entered on behalf of the accused, and the plea so entered shall have the same force and effect as if the accused had so pleaded; or else the Court shall thereupon proceed to try or, if the case is triable by jury under section 242 or 245 cause a jury to be empanelled to try whether the accused be of sound or unsound mind, and if he is found of sound mind shall proceed with the trial, and if he is found of unsound mind, and consequently incapable of making his defence, shall proceed in the manner provided by section 133 which shall apply accordingly.

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