Mr Justice Paul Dery

Contempt case against Justice Gertrude Torkonoo thrown out

The Supreme Court yesterday struck out the contempt suit filed by Mr Justice Paul Dery, one of the judges implicated in the judicial bribery scandal, against an Appeal Court judge, Mrs Justice Gertrude Torkonoo.


The decision followed the withdrawal of the application by counsel for Mr Dery, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo.


Before the withdrawal, the five-member panel, chaired by Mr Justice Julius Ansah, had pointed out to counsel that Mrs Justice Torkonoo was empowered by the Chief Justice to hear the contempt case

Mr Justice Dery filed at the High Court against Anas Aremeyaw Anas and four others, and could therefore not be cited for contempt.

According to the court, Mrs Justice Torkonoo derived authority to hear the case based on a warrant granted her by the Chief Justice, who directed her to hear the case to its logical conclusion.

“The warrant from the Chief Justice directed her to deal with the cases to their logical conclusion and therefore we do not see any reason to pursue a case of contempt against her,” the court said.

It also impressed on the applicant that Article 127 (3) of the 1992 Constitution granted immunity to Mrs Justice Torkonoo, who heard the case as an additional High Court judge.
Article 127 (3) states that “A justice of the Superior Court or any person exercising judicial power shall not be liable to any action or suit to any act or omission by him in the exercise of the judicial power.”

The other members of the panel were Mr Justice Anin Yeboah, Mr Justice Paul Baffoe Bonnie, Mr Justice Anthony A. Benin and Mr Justice Joseph Bawa Akamba.
Based on the advice of the Supreme Court, the applicant’s counsel said he had taken a cue from the direction of the court and subsequently withdrew the application.

“We humbly seek leave to withdraw our application,” Nii Addo prayed the court.

On September 29, 2015, Mr Justice Dery petitioned the Chief Justice for the dismissal of the contempt charges he brought against Anas and four others.

In the petition, Justice Dery asserted that the ruling given by Court of Appeal judge, Justice Torkornoo, contravened his right to be heard.

Justice Dery brought the suit on September 18, 2015 citing Anas Aremeyaw Anas, two editors at the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Starr FM CEO, Kwabena Anokye Adisi, and Sulemana Braimah of the media Foundation for West Africa for contempt.

The Accra High Court, presided over by Mrs Justice Torkonoo, however, dismissed the application, holding that since Justice Dery had earlier withdrawn an application for interlocutory injunction to restrain Anas from showing the video, it was legally untenable for the court to commit the five for contempt.

The decision did not sit well with Justice Dery, prompting him to petition Mrs Georgina Wood.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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