Lawyer Yaw Oppong says the former Deputy Attorney General and MP for Bolgatanga East was too harsh with his criticism of the Supreme Court’s decision on the 2020 Election Petition.
According to him, Dr Dominic Ayine would not repeat what he said during the panel discussion.
“I believe that if you give him (Dr Ayine) another opportunity, I am 100% certain he will not repeat what he said. None of the panel members uttered such harsh words. This is not a situation where one is being invited to the committee because one has criticized the decision of the court, I think it is the language,” the member of President Akufo-Addo’s legal team told Joy FM on Thursday, June 3.
He indicated that Dr Ayine being called to the disciplinary committee does not mean he is being punished for his utterances.
Dr Dominic Ayine, who was a member of former President John Dramani Mahama’s legal team during the 2020 Election Petition, at a forum organized by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) questioned the judiciary’s independence regarding how the Supreme Court arbitrated the Election Petition.
Dr Ayine maintained that the posture of the Supreme Court throughout the Election Petition hearing suggests that it had a “pre-determined agenda” to rule against the petitioner, John Dramani Mahama.
He said, “the Supreme Court’s failure to apply the rules of procedure as well as the consistent and continuous dismissal of the petitioner’s applications or reliefs were the basis of his assertion”.
Dr Ayine made a similar statement during the hearing of the petition at a press briefing, February 16, 2021, in which he was found guilty of contempt of the Supreme Court, but was discharged after apologizing for his comments.
The Judicial Secretary in a letter said, Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah is displeased with statements made by Dr Ayine during a discussion.
The Chief Justice has, therefore, petitioned the disciplinary committee of the General Legal Council (GLC) of Ghana to see to the matter.
Reacting to the invitation, Lawyer Oppong noted that in the Republic Vs Mensa Thompson case, he stated that judges ought not to and do not say that the public cannot criticize their decision.
“Judges like any other group of human beings do make mistakes and should indeed ought to be criticized. At times, some of us feel that our judgements are not criticized enough, especially by the legal profession. I expect, however, that the language of criticism will be tempered and measured.”
“It is not often remembered that judges seen as very strong, are, in fact, the weakest members in the society. We received blows we cannot throw any, a factor to be taken into account when a member of the public is inclined to criticize us,” the Republic Vs Mensa Bonsu ruling reads.
He said the ruling cancels out the opinion that the judges cannot be criticized but the language of criticism is also important.
Lawyer Yaw Oppong stressed, “It is not even everything Dr Ayine said that has become the subject of the invitation, he said a lot of things but it is an aspect that the authority picked.”