Lawyer Chris Ackumey has chastised the decision of the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, to drag Dr Dominic Ayine, the Bolgatanga East MP, before the disciplinary committee of the General Legal Council (GLC) of Ghana over some alleged comments he made against the Justices of the Supreme Court.
Dr Dominic Ayine, who was a member of former President John Dramani Mahama’s legal team during the 2020 Election Petition, in a forum organized by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), questioned the judiciary’s independence due to 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”.
This was a similar statement he made 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.
Speaking to Joy FM on Thursday, June 3, 2021, monitored by GhanaWeb, Chris Ackumey said, after listening to the former Deputy Attorney General, he does not see anything wrong with the statement he made during the CDD-Ghana forum.
The private legal practitioner maintained that Dr Ayine was very temperate with his choice of words which made him express fear when making his submission.
“I really did not hear any harsh words used. Secondly, I think that if anything at all, Ayine was very temperate in his use of words. He even expressed fear that he hopes that he would not be taken on but in the interest of producing some form of academic critique, he went on.
“I really don’t see why this letter to him, inviting him to the GLC. It is unnecessary,” he stated.
Lawyer Ackumey bemoaned that, if the Chief Justice insists on the petition, it will stifle the growth of freedom of expression and speech in the country as well as hinder the analysis of issues from an academic perspective.
He noted that the Chief Justice will be remembered for instiling fear among lawyers due to this decision.
“If the Chief Justice insists that the invitation must be carried out, all that he will be seeking to do will be killing the freedom of speech in the country, especially among lawyers. You will be seeking to kill freedom of expression and most especially, the academic approach of issue analysis.
“And also, you will be remembered forever for attempting to instil fear and trepidation among lawyers…it’s unfortunate. I want to remember my grandmother; she used to say that, ‘when you are crossing the river, you don’t insult the crocodile’. I want to replace the word insult with criticism, thus, when you are crossing the river, you must not criticize the crocodile. I mean, the Chief Justice must not turn himself into a crocodile so that any criticism of him will warrant an invitation to the Legal Council. He should not turn himself into a crocodile at all,” Lawyer Chris Ackumey stressed.
Lawyer Ackumey is of the view that the forum offered the opportunity for academic views to be expressed for and against, and he advised the Chief Justice to as a matter of urgency withdraw the petition made against Dr Dominic Ayine to the General Legal Council.