NDC raises red flag over Appeal Court Judges presiding over High Court cases

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has expressed worry at the appointment of Court of Appeal Judges to preside over High Court cases.

According to the party, the phenomenon had the tendency to demotivate judges at the High Courts.

Addressing a press conference in Accra, the NDC General Secretary, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said the development gave a wrong impression about the competency of High Court judges in dealing with certain cases at their level.

“Without mincing words, we state that we see the appointments of Court of Appeal justices to preside over these cases as worrying,” he said.

Mr Nketia said the NDC has also observed that, in recent times, the Supreme Court (SC) “failed to assign any reasons” for its judgements.

He cited, among others, the Supreme Court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Abdul Malik Kweku Baako , the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, challenging the removal of the then Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs Charlotte Osei.

Mr Nketia said the apex Court only described the suit as “unmeritorious”, but did not indicate any reason for striking it out.

“This cryptic judgment fails in many respects to meet the basic standards of a reasoned judgment. It is devoid of an analysis of the facts of the case, the case and arguments presented by the parties, the legal principles upon which the judgment is based, and how those legal principles,” he said.

In the case of the Republic vrs High Court, (Criminal Division) Accra; Ex parte: Stephen Kwabena Opuni & Anor, Mr Nketia said the Supreme Court dismissed Mr Opuni’s application for Justice Jackson Honyenuga to recuse himself from his case, but did not indicate any reason for the judgment.

“The NDC notes that the phenomenon of unreasoned court judgments has become so commonplace especially in cases with high political stakes. The NDC wonders how the apex court could engender public confidence in the administration of justice and remain accountable to the people when it assumes a calculated posture of rendering unreasoned judgments,” he said.

The NDC also expressed concern over what it described as the “creeping tendency of the apex court to trespass into domains reserved for parliament.

 “In the process, the court has demonstrated legal or institutional hubris and thrown overboard the restraints the court has exercised in the past over matters that fall within the domain of Parliament,” Mr Nketia said.

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