...As High Court Registrar delays contempt case
Kwame Gyan, counsel for Kennedy Agyapong in the case of contempt filed against the Member of Parliament (MP) has started throwing jibes for JusticeWuntahWuni who was presiding over the matter saying he made it "personal".
This comes as the Registrar of the High Court is yet to decide on which judge to hear the as instructed by the Supreme Court on Wednesday [October 14, 2020] after upholding an application from Kennedy's lawyers which in parts for prohibition and certiorari filed by lawyers for the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) Assin Central MP on a High Court judge.
The apex court upheld the order by Justice Wuni for Mr Agyapong to appear before the High Court to answer for contempt, but prohibited him from presiding over the case and also quashed all the proceedings that had been held before Justice Wuni.
"The matter should be sent back to the Registrar of the High Court for the Registrar to place it before the High Court differently constituted," the Supreme Court held it is exactly a week since the order was given but the registrar is yet to put the files before a judge.
The five-member panel of the court was presided over by Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, with Justices Yaw Appau, Gabriel Pwamang, Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu and YonnyKulendi. They had said that they will give its full reason for the decision on October 20, this year.
Counsel for the embattled MP, who also doubles as a law lecturer, held the view that Justice Wuni was trying every possible means to just punish his client without due regard to procedures governing the handling of contempt cases.
Speaking on Okay FM's Ade AkyeAbia Morning Show, Lawyer Kwame Gyan accused the High Court Judge of deliberately committing errors during the trial with the intention of punishing his client.
"When I realised that the Judge was committing these infractions, I became alarmed and suspicious....these plethora of infractions were clearly deliberate and grave which not checked may lead to a travesty of justice....so I tried to convince him in the courtroom but he wouldn't budge and so the legal team decided to seek the intervention of the Supreme Court to stop the Judge...
"When we informed the trial Judge of our decision, he said he will still continue with the case whether we have gone to the Supreme Court to stop him or not," he asserted.
He explained that the Supreme Court has supervisory powers over every adjudicating body including cases presided over by the National House of Chiefs if it receives an application that suggests that there is a deliberate error in the proceedings of any case.
According to him, per the ruling of the court, Mr Agyapong is still on trial for contempt over his alleged comments which scandalised the court and brought its name into disrepute.
The Registrar at the High Court has been asked to find another Judge at the High Court to preside over the case against Mr Agyapong.
"We are waiting for the High Court Registrar to call us and tell us the court and the Judge who has been assigned to preside over the case and as law-abiding lawyers, we will honour the invitation of the Registrar," he stated.
A one-sided story was told by sections of the Ghanaian media, which painted Justice Wuni of Land Court 12, as the villain and Mr. Agyapong who had threatened and insulted him on live television on the same station, investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale's pictures were shown by the same man days before he was assassinated in broad daylight, rather as the hero.
But Godfred Dame, a Deputy Attorney-General, came across as a man of conviction and not amenable to political chicanery, having described as scandalous comments by the NPP Assin Central MP on a High Court judge.
Mr Dame told the Supreme Court on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 that there is no iota of doubt that the comments by the MP on Net2 TV, were contemptuous, adding "the words clearly scandalised the court".
GodfredYeboah Dame, was making an argument at the Supreme Court last week Wednesday to oppose moves by lawyers for Mr Agyapong to have the Supreme Court, quash the contempt trial against the MP at the High Court.
Lawyers for the MP, prayed the Supreme Court to quash the contempt trial on the basis that the comments made by their client were not directed at Justice Amos WuntahWuni of Land Court 12 , who is trying the case, but rather against a Justice of the High Court at Labour Court 2.
Lawyer Kwame Gyan, who is one of Kennedy Agyapong's legal representatives, said that assuming that the comments were directed at Justice Wuni, it will be a breach of the rules of natural justice to have him (Justice Wuni) sit on his own case.
Justice Wuni, was also accused by Lawyer Kwame Gyan of "demonstrating extreme hostility" towards Mr Agyapong.
These assertions were, however, opposed by Godfred Dame, who reasoned that there exists only one High Court in the country and that any justice of the court can sit on any contempt case.
He, therefore prayed the court to dismiss the application by Kennedy Agyapong.
Godfred Dame was, however, not successful in his plea as the five-member Supreme Court panel ruled that a different judge should sit on the matter.
The Deputy A-G, who represented the state in the matter and in effect the court, disagreed with the position of the MP's lawyers, describing it as misconceived.
According to him, there is only one High Court in Ghana and therefore any Justice of the High Court can assume jurisdiction in a contempt matter so far as the contemptuous act was directed at the High Court.
A five -member panel of the Supreme Court retired into chambers to decide on the application, when they came back, they ruled that a different judge should sit on the matter. They ordered the Registrar of the Accra High Court to place the trial before another judge at the Accra High Court.
The apex court upheld the order by Justice Wuni for Mr Agyapong to appear before the Accra High Court to answer for contempt, but prohibited him from presiding over the case and also quashed all the proceedings that had been held before Justice Wuni.
"The matter should be sent back to the Registrar of the High Court for the Registrar to place it before the High Court differently constituted", the court held.
According to the court, it will give its full reason for the decision on October 20, this year.
Per the ruling of the court, Mr Agyapong is still on trial for contempt over his alleged comments which scandalised the court and brought its name into disrepute.
However, the trial will not be before Justice Wuni, who had been presiding over the matter since it commenced.