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General News of Tuesday, 22 June 2021


‘Throw out’ Chief Justice’s petition - Dominic Ayine to General Legal Council

Dr. Dominic Ayine, a former deputy Attorney General Dr. Dominic Ayine, a former deputy Attorney General

• Dr Dominic Ayine insists he did no wrong with his criticism of the Supreme Court

• He maintains that his opinion is not in anyway an attack on the apex court

• He urged the General Legal Council not to proceed with investigations into the matter

Dr. Dominic Ayine, a former deputy Attorney General has urged the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council, GLC, to throw out a petition filed against him by the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah.

In a response sighted by GhanaWeb, Dominic Ayine said that the complaints against him by the CJ to the effect that he has maligned the Supreme Court with his statement are untenable as he only expressed his opinion as a lawyer.

He said that as a lawyer with over 25 years experience, he has always expressed his opinion on judgements without attacking the integrity of judges.

He touted his disciplinary record and gave an account of his rise to becoming a deputy Attorney General.

In a sub-topic of his response to the GLC titled: ‘Reasons Why the Committee Should not Proceed to Hold an Inquiry,” Dr Dominic Ayine enumerated a number of justifications for his comments to buttress why he should not be investigated.

“I have been a practicing lawyer in Ghana for the past 25 years and my practice has substantially involved representation of clients before the courts and tribunals of this country. I have always conducted myself with utmost decorum towards the judges before whom I have had the singular privilege of representing my clients. In the course of my 25 years of law practice, I have never been rebuked for unprofessional or disrespectful conduct by any judge or magistrate and never been reported for such conduct to the General Legal Council.

“I have also had the privilege of serving as Deputy Attorney General of this country for 4 years (i.e. from 2013 to 2016) and I carried out the duties of my office with utmost decorum towards the judiciary. Indeed, as Deputy Attorney General, I had the privilege of representing the Attorney General on the Judicial Council and the General Legal Council. I was a passionate advocate for judicial independence and fair treatment of the judiciary by the executive branch of government. The justices and senior lawyers who served with me on these two august bodies would testify to my record in this regard.

“As a law teacher and in the best traditions of that Faculty, I was often quick to supply judgments freshly delivered by the courts and international tribunals to my students. In some cases, when I felt strongly about a decision of our courts, I criticized such decisions publicly. For example, when the Ghana@50 decision of the High Court came down, not only did I share it with my students of Administrative Law, but I also wrote a candid critique of the judgment which was published in the Daily Graphic of September 10, 2010.

"In the article titled "The Ghana@50 Ruling: Why Justice Marful-Sau is Wrong," I described the reasoning and conclusions of the High Court as "troubling" and argued that, "His Lordship not only misapplied the law but drew conclusions and rendered a decision that effectively deprives commissions of inquiry of their use as tools for holding public officeholders accountable for their actions that might have caused injury to the public welfare."

Dominic Ayine insisted with his experience in the law field, he believes he is qualified to comment on decisions by judges. "I did so respectfully because I considered myself then and now as a public intellectual with a duty to inform my fellow citizens about the workings of the courts and the legal system as a whole.

“The foregoing clearly demonstrates that, in both my private practice as a lawyer and my life in public service, I have always respected the integrity and independence of the judiciary. I have never acted contrary to my belief that no political mileage is gained by a deliberate or reckless act of running down the institutions and officeholders critical to the sustenance of our democracy. Consistent with this belief, I could not have been engaged in the reckless enterprise of disparaging the judiciary on a platform such as the CDD roundtable knowing that people from all over the continent were watching me.”

Dr Dominic Ayine was on May 25 hauled before the GLC over some comments he made during a discussion on Presidential Election Petitions and their impact on Africa’s Democracy, organised by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Ghana.

In a statement which was signed by the Secretary of the Judicial Service, the Chief Justice said he found Ayine’s “alleged disparaging comments totally unacceptable and would like you (the GLC) to investigate this matter further.”