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General News of Thursday, 10 June 2021

Source: dailymailgh.com

CJ’s petition against Ayine ‘clear case of culture of silence’ – Minority

Haruna Iddrisu,  Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Leader

Minority lawmakers in Ghana’s Parliament want the Chief Justice to reconsider his petition to haul Bolgatanga East MP, Dr. Dominic Ayine before the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council.

Describing the content of the petition as “hearsay” the Minority is of the view that the Chief Justice’s action is in bad faith and an assault on free speech.

In a letter written by Judicial Secretary, the Chief Justice took issue with the views expressed by Dr. Ayine on the 2020 Election Petition Judgment on a CDD-Ghana platform.

The letter addressed to the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council, accused Dr. Ayine of stating that “the Supreme Court’s failure to apply the rules of procedures as well as the consistent and continuous dismissal of the petitioners’ applications or reliefs were the basis of his assertion”.

Addressing the press on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu indicated that the Chief Justice will set a bad precedent if the case is allowed to proceed.

The NDC MP added that Dr. Ayine is duty-bound to speak to the public on matters of public interest and that is what he did.

He, therefore, described the petition from the Chief Justice as an attack on Parliament as an institution, and one that will deepen the “growing culture of silence” in the country.

“The Chairman of the General Legal Council who is also the Chairman of the Judicial Council and Head of the Judicial Service, an organ of state in our view, has already determined that the comments are totally unacceptable and wants the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council to investigate further. It is against this background that we in the Minority find the petition to be in utter bad faith and meant to be an attack of free speech on Parliament as an institution and also an upfront to democratic and academic freedom.”

“This invitation must also be seen as an attack on freedom of expression, and it is only deepening growing concern about the culture of silence in our country which is gradually rearing its ugly head in our democratic dispensation, and therefore a great threat to the sustenance of democracy in our country. In our view, we think Dr. Ayine was speaking as a Member of Parliament and Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament, and not only as a lawyer, and he has the responsibility to speak to the public on matters of public interest as he did on the said forum.”

Ayine’s contempt case at the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court, during the hearing of the 2020 election petition, discharged former Deputy Attorney General, Dr. Dominic Ayine who faced contempt charges.

Dr. Ayine was charged with contempt following words he used in his commentary on the election petition case.

He was ordered to render a public apology; using the same medium through which he was found to have scandalized the court and brought its name into disrepute.

The court’s order was subsequently complied with, as Dr. Ayine rendered a public apology to both the bench and the bar for undermining the sanctity of the apex court.

Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah noted that the contemner had purged himself as ordered and would be discharged without any further punishment.

The lead counsel for Dr. Ayine, Frank Becheem said the former Deputy Attorney General had learned his lesson and will sin no more.

Also appearing in solidarity with Dr. Ayine was lead counsel for the Electoral Commission in the election petition matter, Justine Amenuvor.

Describing Dr. Ayine as his classmate, best man, and close friend, Mr. Amenuvor thanked the court for its magnanimity towards the former Deputy Attorney General.

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