Court Warns Lawyers

The  nine-member panel hearing the 2012 presidential election has warned some lawyers, including Abrahim Amolliba to stop divulging privileged information held in chambers, to the public.

The bench took exception to what it said were unpleasant comments made by some members of the bar on the side of both the petitioners and the respondents.

Justice Jones Dotse, a member of the panel set the ball rolling by specifically mentioning Mr. Amalliba, a member of the legal team of the first and second respondents and other spokespersons and warned that they would be dealt with if they continue to engage in such professional misconduct.

“The court will not deal leniently with persons, especially, lawyers who misrepresent facts in court,” he stressed.
Justice Dotse explained that when the lead counsel for the parties in the hearing and the bench met in chambers for the third time, a decision was taking which should not have been in the public domain, but unfortunately there has been discussions on the airwaves and press releases divulging privilege information.

He lamented that what Mr. Amaliba said was contrary to what transpired in chambers and since the issues were known to lead counsels.

Justice Dotse pointed out that what counsel told their spokespersons were misrepresented and cautioned lawyers not to deceive the public.

Adding his voice to concerns raised by the bench, Tsatsu Tsikata, counsel for the National Democratic Congress, (NDC), the third respondent suggested that accuracy could not be detached from lawyers and the media who reported on the hearing.

“The kind of behaviour put up by some lawyers who are supposed to know better as part of their profession should not be countenanced,” he said. Mr. Tsikata expressed misgivings about statements made by some lawyer which grossly misrepresenting matters said in open court.

According to him “some political commentators put into the public domain palpable false information even to the extent of manufacturing statements and attributing them to the bench.”
Mr. Tiskata said there was the need for accurate reportage on the hearing, in order not to disabuse the minds of the public.

Another member of the panel, Justice Sule Gbadegbe cautioned that the public could be fed with toxic but not the bench and advised lead counsels in the hearing to control their spokespersons.

He lamented over false reportage on the Amicus Curiae (friend of court) and described the situation as unfortunate.
Justice Atuguba, the presiding judge also commented on the issue and indicated that it was worrying that lawyers would show more commitment to an organisation more than their profession, which was the foundation of their life.

He declared “a whole presidency is at stake after Ghanaians voted in the December 2012 election and it is up to the legal profession to help resolve the impasse.”

Justice Atuguba noted that the hearing had proved that the legal profession was central to the stability of any democratic dispensation.

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