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Attempt to revive appeal: Supreme Court dismisses Quayson’s request

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
 James Gyakye Quayson
James Gyakye Quayson

The Supreme Court has dismissed an attempt by the injuncted Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, to revive his appeal which was struck out by the Court of Appeal for non-compliance with court rules.

Mr Quayson had filed a certiorari application urging the Supreme Court to set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal to strike out his appeal challenging the nullification of his election as an MP by the Cape Coast High Court

However, in a unanimous decision yesterday, a five-member panel of the apex court dismissed the application on the basis that it had no merit.

“It is our considered view that there is no merit in the said application and it is accordingly dismissed,” the court held.

The five-member panel was presided over by Justice Jones Dotse, with Justices Nene Amegatcher, Professor Nii Ashie Kotey, Gertrude Torkornoo and Clemence Jackson Honyenuga as members.

When the case was called yesterday, both Mr Quayson and his lawyer, Tsatsu Tsikata, were absent.

The court said at the last hearing on April 13, 2022, Mr Tsikata was in court when the case was adjourned to today.

In spite of the absence of Mr Tsikata, the court held that it had considered all the processes filed by Mr Quayson detailing his case, as well as the responses from the other parties before arriving at its decision to dismiss the application.

Nullification

On July 28, 2021, following a petition by Mr Michael Ankomah-Nimfah, a constituent of Assin North, the Cape Coast High Court declared Mr Quayson’s election void on the basis that he owed allegiance to another country other than Ghana, contrary to Article 94(2) of the 1992 Constitution.

It was the considered view of the court that as of the time Mr Quayson filed to contest the Assin North seat, he had not renounced his Canadian citizenship and, therefore, he was not qualified to become a legislator.

The court, presided over by Justice Kwasi Boakye, ordered the EC to organise a new parliamentary election in the constituency.

Court of Appeal decision

Mr Quayson then filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Cape Coast, seeking to overturn the High Court decision.

However, on March 22, 2022, a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal struck out the appeal after it held that Mr Quayson failed to comply with the court’s procedures as set out in the Court of Appeal Rules, 1997 (C.I. 19).

The second highest court of the land ruled that Mr Quayson failed to file his written submissions in support of the appeal within 21 days, as stipulated by Rule 20 (1) of C.I. 19 and had still not complied five months later.

Certiorari application

Dissatisfied with the decision of the Court of Appeal, Mr Quayson invoked the supervisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court by filing a certiorari application for the decision to be struck out.

It was his case that the Court of Appeal breached the rules of natural justice by failing to give him a hearing before striking out his appeal.

Injunction

The case involving Mr Quayson has taken many angles, one of which include an injunction slapped on by the Supreme Court differently constituted by a seven-member panel.

On April 13, 2022, a seven-member panel of the apex court, in a 5-2 majority decision, upheld an injunction application and ordered Mr Quayson to stop holding himself out a legislator pending the final determination of a substantive suit.

The injunction was filed by Mr Ankomah-Nimfah, who is challenging the constitutionality of the election of Mr Quayson.

Mr Ankomah-Nimfah is seeking a declaration from the Supreme Court that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 94(2)(a) of the 1992 Constitution, at the time the EC opened nominations for people to file to contest the Assin North parliamentary seat, Mr Quayson held Canadian citizenship and, therefore, was not eligible to contest.

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