Sunday, June 30, 2013

Court cautions lawyers (June 7, 2013)

THE Supreme Court has advised lawyers to live up to expectation and recognize the importance of the legal profession in promoting order in society.
According to the court, the legal profession was a key player in promoting a democratic society and it must, therefore, be kept as sacrosanct as possible
Speaking on behalf his colleagues, Mr Justice William Atuguba, contended that it was baffling for a lawyer to be more committed to course other than the legal profession.
 He reminded lawyers that the legal profession put them in the limelight for them to be recognised by their various political parties.
He underscored the need for all lawyers to realise the importance of the legal profession because it was so powerful that it had the capability to decide the fate of a President.
That he explained clearly pointed out the importance of the legal profession.
Other members of the panel hearing the election petition challenging the declaration of President John Dramani Mahama as the winner of the December 7 and 8, 2012 polls are Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, Mr Justice N. S. Gbadegbe and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo.
Mr Justice Atuguba’s comments came at the backdrop of concerns raised by counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) over what Mr Tsikata termed “gross misrepresentation” of what transpires in court by some lawyers in the case.
Counsel held that there was the need for lawyers to report accurately on what transpires in court and indicated that it was unfortunate for lawyers to grossly misrepresent what has been said in open court to the public and urged the court to speak on the issue as guardians of the legal profession.
Mr Justice Dotse also expressed concern over inaccurate reporting on the case by a section of the media adding that “we need accurate reportage in this case.”
He cited an example of a situation where a particular media house reported that the court had in a 5-4 majority decision dismissed a review application filed by Mr Tony Benony Amekudzi, who had prayed the court to review its decision which had earlier dismissed his application that the President cannot be sued.
The decision of the court on the review application was unanimous.
The Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, is currently undergoing cross examination from lead counsel for the petitioners, Mr Philip Addison.
One of the petitioners, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, has testified on behalf of the petitioners while the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia has also testified for the NDC and the President.
The other petitioners in the case are the presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Chairman of the NPP, Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey. They are alleging gross and widespread irregularities and are accordingly praying the Supreme Court to annul 4.3 million votes.
The respondents are the Electoral Commission (EC), President John Dramani Mahama and the NDC. They have all denied any wrongdoing and described the elections as free and fair.
Hearing of the substantive petition began on April 17, 2013 after the court had gone settled interlocutory matters raised by parties in the case.

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