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Opinions of Saturday, 15 June 2013

Columnist: Koramoah, Kwame Adofo

Tony Lithur’s robe, what is wrong with it?

Viewers may have observed that ever since the Supreme Court case of the NPP began, there appears to be something that is always consistently displayed in the courtroom, and that is the incessant falling off, or not wearing properly of Mr Lithur’s robe/gown. One cannot help but wonder why his robe always seems to be falling off from his shoulders? Is Mr Lithur’s robe too small for him, or is simply too big that it simply just falls off when he tries to wear it? If the answer to the question is neither, then the only question that follows is whether Mr Lithur is communicating or sending a message to the Court and the viewers at large?

People generally do communicate in various ways: from overtures, gestures, caricatures, cartoons, or simply by the way they dress. These are all various forms of communication. But does the Legal Profession permit these forms of communication or message sending from the court room?

It is important to understand that this live telecast of the case has opened the door for all to see the nature and caliber of lawyers that we have in the country, and to quote the Bar Association spokesperson, Mr Forson, they are to represent one of the “finest” in the legal profession in country.

It is also important to understand that the case being televised is not just some television soap opera or drama, but an example of democracy at work, an essential part of a democratic system. It is therefore extremely important that lawyers’ conducts are held to the highest standards.

Tony Lithur, just like the other lawyers is an officer of the court. Officers of the court are to behave and dress in a manner that is fit and proper as an officer of the court. However we see daily that the judges are properly robed. We also see daily that the lawyers are properly robed and when they stand up to speak they make sure that they pull in their robe/gown to make sure it is straightened, and appropriate before they start to make submissions. But that is not the case with Mr Tony Lithur. He appears as though he does not want to wear the robe/gown either because it is too small for him or simply too big in size that he refuses to wear it properly. He also appears to be indifferent to the Court in the manner in which he hangs his robe/gown behind his back and below the shoulders. Either way, the message being conveyed by his dressing does not help in the higher estimation of the Court, and furthermore, may be construed as simply being too arrogant and not showing any respect to the Court. This does not help at a time that has thrown the eyes of the world on the judicial system of the Country.

Kwame Adofo Koramoah is a solicitor and Barrister of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the principal of Denning Lawyers in Sydney Australia. He is also a solicitor and Barrister of the Supreme Court of Ghana. Email: billyoo@hotmail.com