Sunday, June 30, 2013

Supreme Court warns media, lawyers again

 June 25, 2013 (Page 19)

THE Supreme Court on June 24, 2013 descended heavily on lawyers and media houses for not giving accurate accounts of what transpiring in the ongoing Presidential petition.
Sounding a last caution especially to journalists, the president of the court, Mr Justice William Atuguba, expressed the court’s rage over a section of the media’s “spins and twists” over the petition hearing.
Giving a last caution, especially to journalists, the President of the court, Mr Justice Atuguba,expressed the court's outrage over a section of the media's "spins and twists" over the petition hearing.
 Other members of the panel were Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, Mr Justice Anin Yeboah, Mr Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Mr Justice N. S. Gbadegbe and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo.
Mr Justice Atuguba warned that the media spins and twists "would be halted through the sanctions of the court,” and indicated that the court had on countless occasions warned against such deeds but had observed that those warnings had fallen on deaf ears.
Making reference to misguided comments from some lawyers and distortion of facts by some media houses, Mr Justice Atuguba specified the court’s preparedness to crack the whip on anyone whose action undermined the authority of the court.
"We have taken the position that any person be he in the media or not – who crosses the final touchline of proper coverage and reportage on the court proceedings will be met with the appropriate response from the court,” he stressed.
Mr Justice Atuguba reminded Ghanaians of the powers vested in the judiciary to protect the sanctity of the state and said the court was not prepared to let down the authority and powers of the state which he described as “paramount.”
He said "it is our bounding duty to uphold the authority of the state in the judicial sector,” and, therefore, stressed that “this acquisition of uncontrolled power to do what people want in relation to twists and spins on our proceedings will be halted through the sanctions of the court.”
Making reference to a Daily Guide report which alleged missing box containing pink sheets were found with him and leaked reports on the content of the final report by KPMG at a time the Court had received copies, Mr Justice Atuguba emphasized that such inactions would no longer be entertained.
According to him the court will not allow its authority and that of the state to be “submerged to the authority of anarchy.”
He initially expressed dissatisfaction with noise in the courtroom while the bench was retiring to the chambers and said, “the court should not be turned into a stock exchange.”
Hearing of the petition continues on Wednesday, June 26, 2013.
The Petition
The hearing of the substantive petition began on April 17, 2013.
So far, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia have testified for the petitioners and President Mahama/NDC respectively.
The Chairman of the EC, Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, began giving his evidence-in-chief on Thursday, May 30, 2013 and is currently being cross examined by Mr Addison.
The petitioners have alleged that the December 7 and 8, 2012 presidential election was fraught with malpractices of over-voting, non-signing of pink sheets by some presiding officers or their assistants, voting without biometric verification and duplicated serial numbers of pink sheets.
However, President Mahama, the EC and, the NDC have denied that any such irregularities occurred during the election.

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