An application to vary the bail conditions filed by En Huang, the 31-year-old Chinese lady standing trial for alleged illegal mining (galamsey) in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, has been dismissed by an Accra high court for want of credible evidence.
The court, presided over by Justice Abdulai Idrisu, ruled that the applicants (Huang and four other Chinese) were not able to demonstrate that the bail conditions as set by the court, were negatively affecting them to necessitate their (conditions’) variation.
Lawyer for the Chinese lady, popularly known as Aisha Huang, and the others – Gao Jin Cheng, Lu Qi Jun, Habin Gao and Zhang Pen – filed the application two weeks ago praying the court to show some clemency and review some of the bail conditions which they claimed were placing a financial burden and other challenges on them.
The five were arrested in Kumasi for their alleged involvement in large-scale illegal mining and were brought to Accra to face trial.
Aisha Huang was granted bail by the court in June 2017 in the sum of GH¢500,000 with two sureties to be justified.
The four others were also granted bail in the sum of GHȼ500,000.00 with one surety each who must be a Ghanaian by birth. Each surety is to be justified.
Per the bail conditions, all the accused persons are to report twice a week to the Inspector General of Police or the Director of Immigration in Accra or their representatives, in writing.
Their lawyer, Bernard Owiredu Donkor, five months after the granting of bail, filed the application praying the court to allow his clients to report to the Ashanti Regional Police Commander and the Regional Immigration boss instead of travelling from Kumasi to Accra all the time.
According to him, that particular term of the bail bond had brought untold hardship both financially and physically to the accused persons since they have to spend so much on hotel bills and transportation.
He argument was vehemently opposed by a state attorney, Watkins Adama, who told the court that the five had not complied fully with all the terms of the bail.
He argued that the five could not present any evidence to substantiate their claims and subsequently prayed the court to dismiss the application.
Justice Idrisu, in his ruling, stated that bail conditions can be varied if the applicant presents compelling reasons to show that the conditions are harsh and detrimental, and also demonstrate how the bail conditions affect them.
He said Aisha and her accomplices could however, not demonstrate to the court why the conditions should be varied, stating that they could not present any receipt to the court relating to payment of hotel bills, transportation or money spent on buying fuel for their vehicles.
He noted that the applicants also failed to present to the court any medical reports indicating that traveling from Kumasi to Accra had subjected them to any medical condition resulting from stress.
Justice Idrisu stated that all the conditions of the bail were to ensure that the accused persons would come to court, considering the seriousness of the offences they have been charged with.
He concluded that the applicants have sureties who are capable of ensuring that they come to court – and all the sureties are resident in Accra.
He therefore dismissed the application for want of compelling evidence.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak