The trail of Ayah Paul Abine, Supreme Court Magistrate arrested on Saturday January 21 has begun at the Yaounde High Court. The verdict of the hearing which took place behind closed doors on March 16, is expected to be declared on Tuesday March 21. He was defended by Prof Maurice Kamto and Barister Kisob while the Commissioner for government who ought to represent the state was absent for health reasons.
The press was denied access to the hearing, but we however got a narration from the publicist of the magistrate cum politician. Editor’s note: The narration may be totally void of objectivity, readers’ discretion is advised. Read on:
“…you did not arrest but abducted me because I am anglophone. A similar thing you did to the Consortium leaders…” – A friend, the wife of one of the prosecuting lawyers hinted me.
Deputy Attorney General of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Ayah Paul Abine who doubles as President of Popular Action Party, PAP appeared in close session earlier at 11:00am before the Mfoundi High Court.
The Commissioner for Government who had to represent the state of Cameroon was absent. He was said to have fallen sick in the early hours of the moring. Regular judicial proceedings warrant that Ayah’s lawyers should have been served with all documents pertaining to the case. Government’s legal department were able to present some doubtful documents only today in court.
They failed to present the warrant of arrest. Ayah was seen helping out his own lawyers on several occasions. The judicial gymnastics of this very learned Chief Justice may have caused the lawyers and judges to contemplate going for retraining.
Ayah began with the first illegality by quoting Section 119 (4) of the Penal Code which forbids the arrest of persons on the weekend. Ayah, it should be noted, was bundled out of his Tam-Tam residence by heavily armed men on Saturday January 21, 2017.
Secondly, the Lord Justice cited Section 629 of the Criminal Procedure Code that clearly spells out the judicial procedures for a judge of his calibre to be arrested; prominent amongst which is the fact that three judges equal to or superior in rank to Justice Ayah were competent enough to form a panel to only interrogate and not effect an arrest.
More so, for such a panel to be constituted, the order had to come through the head of his department, in this case, the Attorney General of the Supreme Court. All of these procedures were flouted!
Chief Justice Ayah’s judicial ‘homily’ got the President of the Mfoundi High Court nodding in the affirmative all through. At one instance, the lectures were so embarrassing to the government camp in ways that there was complete dead silence.
Ayah challenged the prosecution team to brandish any evidence warranting that he be arrested even if they did not have the right to arrest him. The judges turned with expectation to the direction of the prosecution team who replied with a gaze of complete bewilderment by a skew of eyebrows. They had no evidence.
Justice Ayah seized the occasion to inform whoever cared to listen that his gut feeling tells him that Laurent Esso (Minister of Justice), Rene Emmanuel SADI (Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation), Jacque Famme Ndongo (Minister of Higher Education), Issa Tchiroma (Minister of Commuincation) in complicity with top notch Anglophones were behind the embarrassment of the state.
By the end of the hearing, some judges and the entire prosecuting team looked pale and embarrassed. They were so much outplayed such that they refused to return greetings after the court session. This report would be incomplete without mentioning that, all through the session, the prosecution team did not, even for once, object to what Ayah said the entire time. by Akoson