Lawyer for En Huang, the 31-year-old Chinese lady who is standing trial over alleged illegal mining (galamsey), has pleaded with an Accra High Court to exercise clemency and review some of her bail conditions.
Bernard Owiredu, the lawyer who filed an application for variation of the bail conditions last week, told the court that En Huang, who is popularly called Aisha Huang, and the other four Chinese, who are on trial, are facing untold hardships both financially and physically as a result of the stiffness of the conditions.
Aisha Huang and four other Chinese were arrested by officers of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) in Kumasi and brought to Accra for trial, following the suspicion that they were illegally operating a mining concession.
She 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 – Gao Jin Cheng, 45; Lu Qi Jun 39; Habin Gao, 26 and Zhang Pen, 23 were also granted bail in the same amount, with one surety each, who must be a Ghanaian by birth. Each surety is to be justified.
As part of the bail conditions, all the accused persons are to report twice a week to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) or the Director of Immigration in Accra or their representatives, in writing.
They were also ordered to hand over their passports to the registrar of the court to be sent to the Director of Immigration or the IGP.
Mr Bernard Owiredu – five months after the grant of the bail – told the court that the five had since complied with all the conditions of the bail.
He raised concern about the five having to travel to Accra from Kumasi twice every week to report to the IGP and the Director General of the Immigration Service.
According to Mr Bernard Owiredu, trial of the case had begun and it is not clear when the matter would come to an end, saying it could be a year or more.
He told the court that the five are struggling to travel from Kumasi to Accra to meet the bail term and sometimes have to rent hotel rooms in Accra.
He said the hotel bills are eating the five accused persons up and are often stressed up after the long journey.
He therefore prayed the court to review some of the bail conditions so that the alleged galamseyers could report to the Ashanti Regional Police Commander and the Regional Immigration boss.
A state attorney, Mercy Arthur, however, opposed the appeal of the defence counsel for the court to review the bail conditions.
She told the court that the AG was working on a report from the IGP and the Immigration Service on the accused persons.
According to Ms Mercy Arthur, they had received the report and were about to file a supplementary affidavit to oppose the application.
The court, presided over by Justice Abdulai Idrisu, however, denied the state attorney the opportunity to file a supplementary affidavit because the defence lawyers had already moved their motion and it would be unfair to them.
He said the AG’s Department could raise its argument on a point of law.
He subsequently adjourned the case to Thursday, November 30, 2017, for the AG’s Department to properly oppose the application.
By Gibril Abdul Razak