Dery withdraws suit against Judge

court.pngOne of the High Court judges implicated in the Judicial Corruption scandal, Justice Paul Uuter Dery yesterday withdrew the contempt suit filed against Justice Gertrude Torkornu.

The contempt suit follows an admission by Justice Torkonu that she erred in her ruling over a contempt case against investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, the Chief Executive Officer of EIB Network, Kwabena Anokye Adisi (Bola Ray) and the Accra International Conference Center brought before her by Justice Dery.

Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, counsel for Justice Dery, withdrew the application following a submission by the Supreme Court panel presided over by Justice Julius Ansah that as a Superior Court Judge, Justice Torkonu, was protected by Article 127(3), which provided her immunity.

The Article 127(3) of the 1992 Constitution states that.” A Justice of a Superior Court, or any person exercising judicial power, shall not be liable to any action or suit for any act or omission by him in the exercise of the judicial power.”

The panel also stated that the laws also provides that a Superior Court Judge has the power to revoke her earlier ruling, when it is realised a blunder had been committed.

According to them, they were surprised such application was being sought by a High Court judge, adding that if that was the reality numerous contempt cases would have been brought against judges in line of their duty.

The counsel of Justice Dery withdrew the application, saying the decision for Justice Torkonu to revoke her earlier ruling was in line with the earlier stand that she erred in her ruling.

This started when Justice Dery contended that the video generated by Anas should not be screened, neither should any transcripts be published and that they could be relied on to remove him.

In spite of this, Tiger Eye PI went ahead to screen the video at the Accra International Conference Centre.

Justice Dery brought an application for contempt against Anas, Sulemana Braimah of the Media Foundation for West Africa, two editors of the New Crusading Guide newspaper amongst others.

The Court of Appeal Judge, sitting as an additional High Court judge, dismissed the application for contempt, on September 28 last year, though the case was originally scheduled to be heard on October 12, 2015.

Justice Dery’s lawyers raised concerns about the decision and proceeded to the Supreme Court to cite her for bias.

The lawyers also asked the highest court of the land to give an order restraining the judge from hearing the substantive case.

The embattled judge is arguing before the court that “despite the pendency of these two applications before this Court (Justice Torkonoo), in outright disrespect of this Court caused a hearing notice to be served on me to appear before her on 3rd December, 2015, for the hearing of the same contempt application which [she] had already dealt with on the 28th and 29th September, 2015 and dismissed it.”

To that extent, he wanted the judge to be punished.

After going back and forth with the court, the lawyer withdrew the contempt suit.

The court set January 20, to hear the substantive case.

By Edem Mensah-Tsotorme  

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