Comments by Oliver Barker-Vormawor despicable but does not constitute treason-Lawyer Azar

Private legal practitioner lawyer Kwaku Asare who is known as Kwaku Azar has described comments made by Mawuse Oliver Barker-Vormawor to the effect that he will stage a coup should parliament pass the E-Levy as despicable.

He, however, believes the comments do not constitute treason for which he has been charged.

He said “In effect, treason is not some petty charge to be thrown about whenever the security services find a statement that uses war, overthrow or both. Levying war means actual waging of war and force of arms means force of arms!”

He added “Law enforcement had no business charging Kennedy Agyepong with treason when he verbally declared war in reaction to attacks on NPP supporters during the 2012 biometric registration exercise.

At that time, I condemned his comments as despicable and unbecoming of a legislator but opined that it came no where near being treasonous as defined by the Constitution.

Likewise, I find comments made by Osagyefo on “coup and army” as despicable but find that those statements come no where near being treasonous. We have a duty to hold government and other office holders accountable and can discharge this duty without veiled references to coup and overthrow of the Constitution.”

Read his full opinion below

Treason is a unique crime. First, it is the only crime defined by the Constitution. Second, it is tried by a high court, consisting of 3 Judges. Third, conviction must be unanimous.

The Constitution’s definition of treason and the requirement for a unanimous 3-judge panel for conviction are intended to prevent its abuse and misuse by government against people engaged in legitimate political opposition.

This is why Article 19(18) loudly says “An act which aims at procuring by constitutional means an alteration of the law or of the policies of the Government shall not be considered as an act calculated to overthrow the organs of government.”

What then is treason?

According to the Constitution, “treason shall consist ONLY (a) in levying war against Ghana or assisting any state, or person or inciting or conspiring with any person to levy war against Ghana; or (b) in attempting by force of arms or other violent means to overthrow the organs of government established by or under this Constitution; or (c) in taking part or being concerned in or inciting or conspiring with any person to make or take part or be concerned in, any such attempt.”

You must declare war or assist, incite or conspire with another country or person to declare war against Ghanafuo or you must attempt, not by words, hyperbole or satire, but by force of arms or some other violent means to overthrow the organs of government or you must take part in either the war or the overthrow.

In effect, treason is not some petty charge to be thrown about whenever the security services find a statement that uses war, overthrow or both. Levying war means actual waging of war and force of arms means force of arms!

Law enforcement had no business charging Kennedy Agyepong with treason when he verbally declared war in reaction to attacks on NPP supporters during the 2012 biometric registration exercise.

At that time, I condemned his comments as despicable and unbecoming of a legislator but opined that it came no where near being treasonous as defined by the Constitution.

Likewise, I find comments made by Osagyefo on “coup and army” as despicable but find that those statements come no where near being treasonous. We have a duty to hold government and other office holders accountable and can discharge this duty without veiled references to coup and overthrow of the Constitution.

GOGO also condemns the security forces in failing to follow due process by holding Osagyefo longer than the stipulated 48 hours.

GOGO calls on the judiciary to start protecting the citizens’ due process rights by holding the police accountable for violations, including releasing accused persons as a consequence of violating their due process rights.

The Police will never take due process seriously if they know there is no penalty for violating it.

#SALL is the cardinal sin of the 8th Parliament.

Da Yie!

By: Rainbowradioonline.com/Ghana

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