Home / OPINION / The ‘Bleak House’ in Ghana; Judges departing from Justice and Law to satisfy a transient MAN

The ‘Bleak House’ in Ghana; Judges departing from Justice and Law to satisfy a transient MAN

I didn’t see this coming, but I am able to bring my mind into agreement with Charles Dickens when he wrote in chapter 1 of his book the ‘Bleak House’ which deeply criticised the court of chancery as ‘This court of chancery…which gives to monied might the means abundantly of wearying out the right, which so exhausts finances, patience, courage, hope, so overthrows the brain and breaks the heart, that there is not an honourable man among its practitioners who would not give – who does not often give – the warning, ‘Suffer any wrong that can be done you rather than come here!’

In very recent times, Ghanaians have suffered incurably  from ‘very strange’ and ‘shocking’ disruptive elements which, when allowed to fester, would as Lord Denning puts it ‘thresh through the undergrowth’ of our young democracy and would inevitably lead this country into CATASTROPHE! It is not one of ‘imminent’ Terrorist attacks , but the issue is, whether that unjustified, unreasonable state-sponsored violence and incursion, attacks the very FREEDOM and JUSTICE this country is anchored on, which was fought for by the toil and sweat of our forefathers of quintessential eminence?

I should not need to remind us of how Nana Akufo-Addo, President of this Republic had registered in the public records, why and how he loathes this country’s founder, the ‘millennium man of Africa’ and first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah because of his belief that Nkrumah treated his   (Akufo-Addo) ‘uncle’ Dr JB Dankwa unfairly, by throwing Dankwa in to prison without trial (under the PDA Act). Indeed,  Akufo-Addo has extended the fight to President Nkrumah’s ‘ghost’ in his determined battle to strip President Nkrumah of all deserving recognitions, he earned.

Fast forward to this day, it is pretty surprising that, the verse of Roman 12:19 in the Holy Bible ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord’ seems to have been lost on President Akufo-Addo who is striving, to make conclusive the presumption, ordinary people hold against him as being a ‘vindictive, unforgiving’ and vengeful character. The big question that has been asked is, has President Akufo-Addo been ever wronged in proportion to how he has wronged others ? The devil, as ever, they say lies in the details. Adams Mahama was murdered by criminals and all what so called ‘prosecutors’ could do was to suspect Gregory Afoko because they were told uncorroborated hearsay by deceased’s wife who claimed her husband had told her a certain Gregory Afoko, and a certain Asabke had poured acid on him.

After four years of what Justice Pwamang of the supreme court described as ‘arduous trial’ of Gregory Afoko with about few weeks for the judge and jury to give their decision, Attorney General appointed by President Akufo-Addo executes her prerogative power to file a Nolle Prosequie.

This prerogative power, which is only a broad framework bill with no regulations and rules on how it should be exercised, was acted in ultravires, unaccounted for, not transparent, irrational and unjustifiably disproportionate with no consideration to the fundamental constitutional human rights of the accused contrary to what Lady Hale of UK Supreme Court aptly puts in the case of Campbell as ‘the weight to be attached to these various considerations is a matter of fact and degree.’

Gregory applied for bail at the Accra High courts and the high courts firmly granted the bail. Attorney General filed for a stay of execution pending appeal which was thrown out by the courts. Dissatisfied by the court’s decision, Attorney General filed another stay of execution application pending appeal to the Appeals court and suffered a ‘humiliating defeat’. Gregory, after ‘enduring’ the rigmarole of the bail application and state-sponsored ‘frustrating events’, met the bail conditions. These same bail conditions were certified by the High court’s registry. The High Court subsequently ordered the Police to produce Gregory Afoko in court to execute the bail bond and to release Gregory from custody.

The Police who, as former Dean of school of Law at GIMPA Lawyer Abotsi rightly puts it in ‘conflict of interest’ as prosecution team had in blatant disrespect for a lawful firm court order refused to produce Gregory in court even against a habeas corpus application granted by the court’s, citing contemptuously a foolish ‘order from above (Government)’ not to release Gregory. Shouldn’t this cause Gregory and his family a justified sense of being wronged?

This seems a slap in the face of rule of law-the first of Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct (adopted in 2002) set out a code of judicial conduct which has been accepted widely around the world states “Judicial independence is a prerequisite to the rule of law and a fundamental guarantee of a fair trial…” likewise, the World Justice Project described the rule of law as ‘it is the underlying framework of rules and rights that make prosperous and fair societies possible.

The rule of law is a system in which no one, including government, is above the law; where laws protect fundamental rights; and where justice is accessible to all …” Curiously enough, most upsetting also is that, the malicious infringement of Gregory’s human rights, as being witnessed under a so called human Rights advocate and lawyer Nana Akufo-Addo, who has never forgiven President Nkrumah for treating JB dankwa, in Akufo-Addo’s definition “cruelly”

Aside the continuous unlawful detention of Gregory in sub-human police custody, the CID Chief Inspector Augustine Nkrumah in complicity with the executive arm of this government on series of occasions maliciously interefered with Gregory’s personal autonomy by forcibly injecting and taking Gregory’s blood samples when he had not complained sick. This led to Gregory having bouts of vomiting blood with some experts suggesting that Gregory risks being ”stuck with poisoned needles.” That said, humiliated by the decision of Her Lady Justice Jenifer Duodo’s court to find the Police and CID on contempt of court , the executive went shopping for a judge.

Readers would recall that, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah hinted of Akufo-Addo’s government determination to find a “DEDICATED JUDGE” to handle this matter when he announced government decision to file Nolle prosequie. Indeed, it appears Government has succeeded in “hiring” Madam Afua Merley Woods who was elevated by President Akufo-Addo to the appeals court last year, to do the “bidding” of executive arm in this case.

Legal experts and the media in this country expressed ‘shock’ against the ‘per incuriam’ and miscarriage of justice and in what former UN General Kofi Annan would term as ‘hopelessly wrong’ decision by High court judge Madam Afua Merley Woods. Madam Afua Woods decision which was given in ‘ignorance’ or ‘forgetfulness’ of the law allowed herself to be  led, as summed up by Lord simons in the Scruttons case ” easily by some undiscerning zeal for some abstract kind of justice to ignore our first duty which is to administer justice according to law, the law which is established for us by an Act of Parliament (Constitution) or the binding authority of precedent” imposing on herself unlawfully expanded-powers of appellate jurisdiction in revoking the bail order granted by another high court, whiles the application from Attorney General is still pending before the appeals court for determination.  Contributing to this backward decision, US legal practitioner Professor Kweku Azar, described Afua Merley Woods as ‘poorly trained’.

Indeed, what is even further surprising is that, the other Judge dealing with the contempt case who has set July 22 2019 to give final decision on the contempt application would ask lawyers of applicants to address her again on why she should commit the contemnors (IGP and CID) to contempt when she is seized with all the facts. This same judge, indeed, granted a lawful order for the Police to produce Gregory in court which the Police disobeyed her firm order and left Gregory to suffer in continous unlawful sub-human BNI cells. On that fateful day, where the nation was expectant of her ruling, President Akufo-Addo sacked the IGP. It is not clear what must have caused the judge to ‘submit’ to not deliver her ruling as she vowed on July 2 2019.

Thus far, it is abundantly clear that, Ghana’s Judiciary is underseige from the oppressive and high handed executive arm. Our Judiciary is in danger as being increasingly seen as not  independence unlike before under distinguished legal authorities such as Justice Azu-crabbe. Undoubtedly, the prominent SALAH v Attorney General case where Prime minister Dr KA Busia of the same Political tradition as our current President declared ‘No court can compel government …’ had deeply bruised and continues to haunt the relationship between the executive and the judiciary. At the time, acting chief justice, Justice Azu-Crabbe when asked to make peace with the executive, responded aptly “the Judiciary has no tiff with the executive.” Implying that it was rather the executive that had a problem. Can we expect such boldness from our current Judiciary ?

It is in the interest of the institution we know as the judiciary to boldly serve the Republic rather than a transient man. The alternative will be a total lost of confidence in the judiciary by the Republic as it protector from excesses of the Executive.

Source: Ghanaweb.Mobi/ Eugenia Boakye Yiadom

 

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