Opuni’s Case: Reconsider the decision to change the original panel in the appeal – LINSOD to Supreme Court

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Lawyers in Search of Democracy, (LINSOD), a legal fraternity has raised concern following the recent alteration of the original panel of Supreme Court Justices assigned to Dr. Stephen Opuni‘s appeal case.

The decision, orchestrated by the Chief Justice, has prompted widespread public outcry and raised significant apprehensions about the integrity of the judicial process.

“We learned yesterday about the sudden alteration, by the Chief Justice, of the original panel of Supreme Court Justices, which was constituted to hear the appeal brought by Dr. Stephen Opuni in his criminal trial currently at the High Court. We were not surprised by the public outrage that greeted the sudden change of the panel; however, our attention was drawn later today to a public statement by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice seeking to defend the change of the original panel by the Chief Justice of the Republic, and we, as lawyers, seeking to promote the rule of law, democracy, and good governance in Ghana, feel compelled to add our voices to, and raise a germane concern about the sudden change in the composition of the panel, which we think is unreasonable, and not in the best interest of justice.”

Legal experts, advocating for the principles of fairness and democracy, have issued a statement expressing their grave concern over the sudden change, which they deem unreasonable and detrimental to the pursuit of justice.

” We hope that our concern shall be considered by the leadership of the judiciary as an important feedback, which shall be helpful for the judiciary in charting a course that shall ensure greater justice for all Ghanaians irrespective of their ethnic or political affiliation. A good-faith attention to our concerns shall also demonstrate responsiveness of the judiciary to the cries of the general public, and shall instill, not only decency, but greater confidence in our justice system, and boost the democratic credentials for our nation as a whole.”

They assert that such a move undermines the confidence of citizens in the judiciary and calls into question the impartiality of the legal system.

“While the Court in all sincerity may not be pursuing a course in the interest of the regime in power, it is imperative to ensure that the general public does not have a different perception as a result of the conduct and decisions of the courts especially in political matters that are brought by the government against citizens of different political affiliations than the party in power. Unfortunately, it appears this is the situation presently, and our efforts through this statement and more is to turn the tides and neutralize this dangerous perception.”

Amidst mounting criticism, calls are being made for the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision and reinstate the original panel to ensure transparency and uphold the rule of law.

“We think there is plenty of time for the Supreme Court to reconsider the decision to change the original panel in the appeal. We are aware that the Court has already given a date for judgment, but we believe that if it shall bring fairness and greater justice to all without question, the Court must nevertheless recall the case and reinstate the original panel to continue the trial to end. It is our hope that the Court shall respectfully give the due attention to our concern and act in a manner that shall encourage us to provide more feedback to it in the advancement of true rule of law and democracy in Ghana.”

This development underscores the importance of safeguarding judicial independence and preserving public trust in the justice system.

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