Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bernard Mornah's case adjourned 'sine die'

February 2, 2013 (Page 18) THE Supreme Court has directed parties in the writ challenging the new Supreme Court rules to file memorandum of issues for trial. Memorandum of issues refers to matters set out by parties in a dispute for a court to adjudicate and rule on. At the court’s sitting in Accra on Thursday, January 31, 2013, it emerged the General Secretary of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr Bernard Anbataayela Mornah, who is challenging the new Supreme Court rule which states that hearing of a petition against a Presidential election shall be done on a daily basis including public holidays, and the Attorney-General had not filed issues to be set out for trial. Following that, the presiding judge, Mr Justice Julius Ansah, directed the parties to file the issues, and accordingly adjourned the matter indefinitely. The other members of the panel were Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, Mr Justice N. S. Gbadegbe, Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo and Mr Justice A. A. Bennin. Mr Mornah was represented by Mr Benson Nutsukpui and Mr James Agalga while the Attorney-General was represented by a Principal State Attorney, Mr Sylvester Williams. The plaintiff is challenging Rule 69 C (5) of the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules, 2012 (C.I. 74) which provides in part as follows: "the Court shall sit from day to day, including public holidays" when hearing a Presidential election petition. Mr Mornah, who brought the action in his personal capacity as a citizen of Ghana, is arguing that the courts may not open for business until the President issues an Executive Instrument permitting same to happen. The Attorney-General is the defendant in the suit which was filed on December 30, 2012. A writ seeking to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court filed on behalf of Mr Mornah by his counsel, Dr Raymond Atuguba, is arguing that “The Public Holidays Act, 2001 (Act 601) provides by implication in its sections 4, 5, and 6 that the courts of law may not open for business unless the President issues an Executive Instrument permitting same to happen. “ “Indeed it is an offence to hold court on a public holiday without such an Executive Instrument and those who engage in such an act may be arrested, tried and punished in accordance with Act 601,” the statement of case accompanying the writ pointed out. The plaintiff is accordingly seeking a “declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of articles 133, 157, 93(2) and 11 of the 1992 Constitution; Rule 71B and a part of Rule 69C (5) of the Supreme Court (Amendment) Rules, 2012 (C.I.74) are unconstitutional and must be declared null and void and of no effect.”

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