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Contempt of Court: Dominic Ayine ordered to retract and apologise

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong and Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine
Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine

A former Deputy Attorney-General, Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, has been cited for contempt of court by the Supreme Court.

Dr Ayine was found guilty of contempt for comments he made to the media on February 16, 2021 to the effect that the court had a "pre-determined agenda" to rule against the petitioner in the 2020 presidential election petition, former President John Dramani Mahama.

The Supreme Court on Monday [February 22, 2021] ordered Dr Ayine to purge himself by using the same medium he made the contemptuous comments to render an unqualified apology.

Dr Ayine apologised to the court by himself and through his lawyer, Mr Frank Beechem, a former President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA).

He said he has realised the error and admits he is wrong and had been wrong and deeply regrets the harm done to his profession and the disrespect shown to the court and Ghana.

He therefore rendered an unqualified apology to the Supreme Court, was sorry for what he has done, remorseful and deeply regrets, his counsel Mr Frank Beechem prayed the court.

Retraction

Following that, the Supreme Court ordered that Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine should purge himself of contempt by rendering an unqualified apology and a retraction following his public comment deemed 'scandalous of the court' in the pending 2020 presidential election petition.

He is to retract the "scandalous statement on the very same medium before Thursday", February 25, 2021 when the court will reconvene.

The contempt proceedings has been adjourned to Thursday at 9:30am.

Ayine cited for contempt

The Supreme Court initiated contempt of court proceedings against Dr Dominic Ayine who is also a Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga East for a comment he passed against the judges sitting on the ongoing presidential election petition.

Last Tuesday [Feb 16] after the court held that the petitioner could not reopen his case, Dr. Ayine said specifically that the judges had a “predetermined agenda” against former President John Dramani Mahama who filed the petition.

Dr Ayine said he did not understand why the court dismissed Mr Mahama’s application to reopen his case to enable him to subpoena the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa, who was the Returning Officer of the December 7, 2020 Presidential Election.

The Supreme Court took judicial notice of his comment, cited him for contempt and subsequently summoned him for the quasi-criminal process.

Appearing before the bench on Monday, February 22, 2021, the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah said: "Dr Ayine, please you have been summoned here by this court to show cause why you should not be committed for contempt."

The Chief Justice said on February 16, 2021, "you [Ayine] made certain statements that were very, very scandalous of the court."

"We've  exercised restraint in invoking our jurisdiction to always be committing people for contempt for obvious reasons. The other time, I think you were here when I drew the attention of Mr Frank Davies, Lawyer [Yaw] Oppong, then Marietta [Brew Appiah Opong], the learned former Attorney-General, I drew their attention and they stopped. But then from nowhere, you also jumped unto the fray and you made certain scandalous statements which the bench thought it was least expected of somebody who held a very high office, as the leader of the bar when the Attorney-General was not present."

Dr Ayine said he had already written a letter to the Supreme Court apologising for his comment.

"My Lord Chief Justice, I did say those words, my attention was drawn to the fact that I might have crossed the line by Mr Frank Davies and you lordships on advice and consultation with my counsel, I have written to the court rendering an unqualified apology. I delivered that letter this morning to the registrar of the Supreme Court to bring it to your lordships attention."

The Chief Justice said they have received copies of the letter and have circulated it and are comfortable with the apology, "but we want to make certain consequential orders."

Go back and purge yourself

The court therefore ordered him to go out and use the same medium through which he made those statements to apologise for the harm that he has done to himself and to the bench.

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