Read Time: 3 minutes
Private legal practitioner lawyer Kwaku Asare aka Kwaku Azar has expressed disappointment in the decision by the Chief Justice His Lordship Anin Yeboah to drag lawyer Dr Dominic Ayine before the General Legal Council over comments he made on the 2020 election petition.
He said lawyers after the 2012 election petition criticized the ring and yet, were not dragged before the GLC.
In a statement, the lawyer said this amount to an attack on free speech.
“The needless effort to silence some people in this polity must stop immediately to save the judiciary from itself.”
The Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice Anin-Yeboah, has hauled lawyer Dominic Ayine before the General Legal Council over alleged disparaging comments made by the latter.
According to the CJ, the former Deputy Attorney General under the erstwhile John Mahama administration during a panel discussion questioned the independence of the judiciary due to the manner the Supreme Court presided over the election petition.
The CJ said in his petition that the lawyer accused the apex court of failing to apply the rules of procedure as well as consistent and continuous dismissal of the petitioner’s applications or reliefs.
It is the case of the CJ that the comments by the lawyer are totally unaccepted and must be investigated by the Council.
The lawyer made the comments on a webinar discussion organized by CDD-Ghana, in collaboration with the KNUST law faculty, as part of a new “Judicial Review” series (a partnership between CDD and two law faculties in Ghana).
The discussion was to review and examine the decisions of the courts for their impact on democracy and good governance.
But lawyer Azar wants the call on the GCL to investigate the lawyer over alleged derogatory comments to be withdrawn with immediate effect.
“GOGO demands the immediate and unconditional cessation of any and all investigations commenced by the GLC following referrals made by the judicial secretary on commentaries made about the 2020 election petition.”
Read his full statement below:
The Danquah Institute organized a workshop on the 2012 election petition where speakers, such as Sam Okudzeto, Professor Frimpong, etc. discussed and criticized the judgment. I supported the Institute in doing so then and still do.
I wrote many commentaries criticizing the judgments, including the contempt proceedings even while the trial was still ongoing, incurring the displeasure of Justice Atuguba.
Others, many lawyers included, openly and vigorously questioned aspects of the judgments and raised issues about the independence of the judiciary.
Nobody, to my knowledge, was referred to the GLC for investigation. And that is right. The judiciary is an arm of government and is not immune from scrutiny and accountability.
What then has changed for those who now raise similar questions, in the spirit of judicial scrutiny and accountability, to be referred to the GLC for investigation and potential disciplinary action?
And why are such referrals, coming as they are from the highest echelons of the judiciary, not publicized? Is the public not supposed to know?
We cannot be free to criticize the judiciary and be quiet when others are stopped from doing the same thing that we are allowed to do.
It does not matter whether we agree or disagree with the criticisms. The important thing is that people are free to criticize and those who disagree with the criticisms are also free to offer their opinions.
The needless effort to silence some people in this polity must stop immediately to save the judiciary from itself.
GOGO demands the immediate and unconditional cessation of any and all investigations commenced by the GLC following referrals made by the judicial secretary on commentaries made about the 2020 election petition.
SALL is the cardinal sin of the 8th Parliament.