Pardon me, I have a right to appeal!
On 30 November 2016, the Court of Appeal, Accra in Republic v Tsatsu Tsikata held that the grant of a presidential pardon to a convict did not take away the constitutional right of that convict to appeal against his conviction on its merits.
Tsatsu Tsikata, the Appellant, was found guilty of willfully causing financial loss to the state and intentionally misapplying public property. He was convicted and given a five-year sentence. The Appellant, being dissatisfied with the sentence and conviction, appealed against it. He was however granted a presidential pardon before the appeal could be heard.
The Court of Appeal had to consider whether the grant of a presidential pardon extinguished the right of the convict to appeal against his conviction.
The court, in its opinion, noted that the grant of a presidential pardon did not extinguish the right of the convicted person to appeal. The court further noted that the right to appeal is conferred by the constitution and there was nothing in the constitution that suggests that a presidential pardon could extinguish this right.
“Where a person has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction”, the Court noted, “it is only a court of competent jurisdiction which can pronounce on the validity or otherwise of the conviction and not the President in the exercise of his prerogative of mercy under article 72 of the constitution.”