A former Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini, has said there was nothing wrong with criticizing judges constructively.
Backing and defending Dr Dominic Ayine’s criticism of the Supreme Court’s handling of the 2020 election petition, Inusah Fuseini said the decision to invite Ayine to the General Legal Council was "unfathomable."
He said Dr Ayine only did what lawyers and academics are supposed to do.
"There is no immunity from public criticisms in respect to judgments of judges or the conduct of judges... and so judges must be aware that the spotlight will be shown on their activities.
"I do not see anything particularly wrong with anybody criticizing a judgment or a conduct of a judge based on consistency, that is the inconsistencies in the judgment based on lack of a deeper understanding of the procedure or the application the application of the law," he said.
In a letter written by the Judicial Secretary to the General Legal Council, the Chief Justice raised an issue with the views expressed by Dr. Ayine on the 2020 Election Petition Judgment on a CDD-Ghana platform.
The letter addressed to the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council, accused Dr. Ayine of stating that “the Supreme Court’s failure to apply the rules of procedures as well as the consistent and continuous dismissal of the petitioners’ applications or reliefs were the basis of his assertion”.
But according to Inusah Fuseini, there is nothing wrong with criticizing the judgement or the conduct of judges.
“There is no immunity from public criticism or the judgement or conduct of judges while sitting on cases, so judges must be aware that the spotlight will be shone on their activities whiles they are conducting cases so I do not see anything particularly wrong with anybody criticising a judgement or the conduct of judges based on the inconsistency in the judgement or lack of a deeper understanding on the procedure or misapplication of the law and throughout the world, the judgement of judges has been subjected to such criticisms.”
Mr Fuseini spoke in a radio interview with Accra based Citi FM on Wednesday evening (June 9, 2021).
“This is what we did for the five years we were studying law. We critiqued judgements within the confines of the law faculty, law school and we appealed against decisions of the court because of the disagreements with the opinion expressed by a judgement and when you disagree, you must point out the area you disagree with, either inconsistent with the law or procedure. That is what we do on a daily basis. You don’t criticize a judge based on his personality traits, it is in the performance of his function that you are at liberty to point out any inconsistency or fact that points to a lack of adherence to the rules of procedure, and it’s acceptable.”
“To me, that is what Dominic Ayine, even in the first criticism of the court sought to do and the repeat at the Civil Society Forum, created by CDD was exactly what he sought to do again because Dominic Ayine has been a lecturer of the law and in Law faculty, that was what he was doing. He knows the parameters of criticisms within which to operate,” he added.
Minority angry with Chief Justice
The Minority in Parliament also wants the Chief Justice to reconsider his petition to haul Bolgatanga East MP, Dr. Dominic Ayine before the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council.
According to the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, the action of the Chief Justice is in bad faith and an assault on free speech.
Addressing the press on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, Haruna Iddrisu indicated that the Chief Justice will set a bad precedent if the case is allowed to proceed.
The Minority Leader added that Dr. Ayine is duty-bound to speak to the public on matters of public interest and that is what he did.
He, therefore, described the petition from the Chief Justice as an attack on Parliament as an institution, and one that will deepen the “growing culture of silence” in the country.