31.5 C
New York
Saturday, June 19, 2021

Dragging Dr. Ayine before GLC is unprecedented, bizarre, and ill-advised – H. Kwasi Prempeh

Executive Director of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) Professor Henry Kwasi Prempeh has described as unprecedented, bizarre, and ill-advised the hurling of Former Deputy Attorney General Dr. Dominic Ayine before the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council over comments he made about the 2020 Election Petition during a Webinar on Presidential Election Petitions and their impact on Africa’s Democracy organized by CDD Ghana

 

- Advertisement -

Taking to Facebook to react to the c Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah’s complaint filed against the former deputy attorney General. Prof. H.K Prempeh warned the development could stifle free speech among lawyers, civil society as well as academic freedom.

 

“That an opinion expressed at such a forum, to contestation from other participants, would cause anyone to lodge a formal complaint with the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council is unprecedented, bizarre, and ill-advised.

- Advertisement -

“Not only is this bound to have a chilling effect on the free speech rights of lawyers, it will also impact negatively on both academic freedom and the freedom and ability of civil society to promote judicial accountability, including through projects like the Judicial Review series.”

I find no justification whatsoever for the Disciplinary Committee of the GLC to be brought into this matter or to investigate Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine for the opinion he expressed on the panel.  It cannot be ok for a lawyer to praise a court for its handling of a matter but an act of professional misconduct–or contempt of court–for another lawyer to express a contrary view of the same court about the same matter” Prof. H.K Prempeh noted on Facebook

 

The Chief Justice on a letter dated May 25, accused Dr. Ayine of questioning the independence of the Judiciary due to the manner the Supreme Court adjudicated the 2020 election petition.

 

 

 

Find Professor H. Kwasi Prempeh’s full Facebook post below

 

So, now members of the Ghana Bar cannot offer a personal unflattering opinion of the judiciary on an academic, a civil society or other public discussion platform, even after a case has been decided, without risking being hauled before the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Counsel? Really?

On the same platform where this lawyer expressed the opinion that has earned him an invitation to appear before the Disciplinary Committee of the legal profession’s regulator, other panelists, including other lawyers, strongly disagreed with him in his opinion of the judiciary regarding the case under discussion, with some praising the court’s handling of the matter. In other words, the platform on which the lawyer spoke was a veritable marketplace of ideas and opinion, with panelists debating each other in frank, open dialogue.

This, incidentally, was 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) that aims to review and examine decisions of the courts for their impact on democracy and good governance. This particular panel, which examined the recent Ghana election petition through a comparative lens, featured two foreign participants (from Kenya and Zimbabwe), four Ghanaian lawyers, and me.

That an opinion expressed at such a forum, to contestation from other participants, would cause anyone to lodge a formal complaint with the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council is unprecedented, bizarre, and ill-advised. Not only is this bound to have a chilling effect on the free speech rights of lawyers, it will also impact negatively on both academic freedom and the freedom and ability of civil society to promote judicial accountability, including through projects like the Judicial Review series. I find no justification whatsoever for the Disciplinary Committee of the GLC to be brought into this matter or to investigate Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine for the opinion he expressed on the panel.  It cannot be ok for a lawyer to praise a court for its handling of a matter but an act of professional misconduct–or contempt of court–for another lawyer to express a contrary view of the same court about the same matter

- Advertisement -

Must Read

Related Articles