My opinion didn’t imperil independence of Judiciary—Dominic Ayine

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga East in the Upper East Region, Dr Dominic Ayine, has indicated that his opinion did not imperil the independence of the Judiciary.

He insisted that it did not cause any “actual or potential harm to the reputation of the individual justices” who ruled on the Election 2020 Presidential Petition.

Dr Ayine pointed out that he constructively criticised the Chief Justice and the other Supreme Court Justices after reading the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court on the 2020 Election Petition.

The Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, in a letter to the Chairman of the General Legal Council (GLC), requested for Dr Ayine to be investigated for questioning the independence of the Judiciary in the manner it adjudicated the election petition.

Dated May 25, it stated that the Chief Justice was displeased with comments made by Dr Ayine during discussion on ‘Presidential Election Petitions and their impact on Africa’s Democracy’, organised by the Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana (CDD-Ghana) and indicated he uttered similar statements to the public during the petition hearing which led to him being cited for contempt.

In an 11-page response to the Chief Justice’s letter to GLC, the former Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dr Ayine  maintained that he stood by the comments he expressed during a Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana (CDD-Ghana) roundtable discussion on the verdict of the 2020 Election Petition.

“I wish to state I stand by opinion I expressed at the said roundtable discussion, firmly convinced opinion expressed neither imperiled the independence of judiciary nor did it cause any actual or potential harm to the reputation of individual justices nor did it cause any actual or potential harm to reputation of individual justices who sat on case.

“On the contrary, I was engaged in constructive criticism based on my reading of unanimous judgment of Supreme Court in exercise of my constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech. I did so in good faith, without malice or falsehood or recklessness in furtherance of my responsibility to our country as a lawyer and academic,” Dr Ayine stated.

He intimated that the Chief Justice’s petition may set “retrogressive precedent whereby disciplinary proceedings will be used as a tool to enforce silence from the bar in the name of shielding judges from disparaging criticism by lawyers”. –ghanaweb.com

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