Frank Davis, a constitutional law expert in Ghana, has rejected claims by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Director of Communications, Kakra Essamuah, that President Akufo-Addo boycotted or led the entire Bar in Ghana to boycott the Supreme Court in 1995 because he disagreed with a decision of the court.
Mr Davis, on the other hand, claims that the decision to boycott the Supreme Court was made by the entire Bar Council, which was led at the time by Nutifafa Kuenyehia, the President of the Ghana Bar Association from 1992 to 1995.
He also told Asaase News that President Akufo-Addo was only the Bar President for the Greater Accra Region and could not have made such a decision on his own, as Kakra Essamuah claimed.
The senior private legal practitioner also stated that the meeting of the Bar Council in 1995 that resulted in the decision to boycott the courts for a month was held at the Ghana School of Law.
“We [the Bar] did not insult, disparage, or denigrate the Judiciary’s image.” We had no intention of doing so. “We fully understand the boundaries of decent protest,” Frank Davis said of the boycott.
“Our mission was to register a protest in a strong but acceptable manner, as well as in solidarity with a colleague.” We [the Bar] collectively took a genuine and well-reasoned decision against the perversity of that Supreme Court decision,” he added.
According to Mr Essamuah, according to the front-page publication of the Daily Post newspaper on September 16, 2022, captioned “Akufo-Addo led GBA to boycott courts nationwide over Supreme Court ruling,” President Akufo-
Addo led a month-long boycott of courts in the country in 1995.
The NDC National Communications Director made the claim in an interview in response to the President’s recent admonition to lawyers in the country at the opening ceremony of the annual Ghana Bar Association Conference in Ho on Monday 12 September 2022, not to entertain those who seek to undermine the independence and credibility of the country’s third arm of government, the judiciary.
“I am deeply disturbed by the current turn of events in Ghana.” I work as a lawyer. Allow me to tell you a personal story. “I was counsel – junior counsel to Mr B. J. Da Rocha in a case in which the republic, led by the Deputy Attorney General, Martin Amidu, prosecuted a lawyer for contempt of court in 1995,” Kakra Essamuah said.
“The Supreme Court convicted a lawyer named Kwabena Mensah Bonsu; he’s still alive; go ask him.” He was found guilty of contempt and sentenced to one month in Nsawam Prisons. What happened in Ghana, do you know? Because of that decision, lawyers in Ghana boycotted all courts for one month.
“Akufo-Addo, who is now president, was the president of the Greater Accra regional branch of the Ghana Bar Association at the time.” “What is he talking about now?” he asked.
Respect for Judiciary
While addressing lawyers at the Bar conference, President Akufo-Addo noted that recent attacks on the judiciary by politicians, including former President John Mahama, were concerning developments that should not be tolerated within the Ghanaian body politic.
“Just as the government continues to implement policies to advance the rule of law, thereby reinforcing people’s confidence and bolstering our nation’s reputation as a country governed by the rule of law, there are some who have made it their political agenda to disparage the image of the judiciary systematically for selfish, parochial, partisan reasons.”
“These are the plaintiffs who go to Court, indeed, to the highest court of the land, provide not a single shred of evidence to back their claims, and yet insist that their claims be upheld, despite the obvious violation of the ancient, common-law rules for the discharge of the burden of proof that such a result would entail,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
“It’s no surprise that the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed their claims 7-0.” The outcome of this case contrasts sharply with the outcome of a similar one in 2013, when the unsuccessful plaintiffs persuaded four of a nine-member court to rule in their favour, but the earlier plaintiffs chose not to wage a political war against the court.
“It is critical that all of us, especially lawyers, who cherish the democracy we are constructing, say no to such people and jealously guard our democratic way of life, which we have worked so hard to establish.” Independent judges, who administer the law, protect citizens’ human rights, and ensure public accountability, are pillars of our democracy,” the President added.
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