The Supreme Court has dismissed an objection seeking the recusal of one of the Justices of the court hearing a case that might affect the Hohoe parliamentary election.
Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, lawyer for five individuals challenging the legality of Mr John Peter Amewu as the Member of Parliament (MP)-elect of Hohoe, raised an objection asking for the recusal of Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga, one of the five Justices of the Supreme Court hearing the case
According to Mr Tsikata, Justice Honyenuga was a close friend of Mr Amewu and therefore would be bias if he continued to be part of the five-member panel that will decide the case.
However, in a unanimous ruling Monday, January 4, the five-member panel of the apex court held that there was no merit in the objection raised by Mr Tsikata.
The court held that an allegation of bias against a judge was a serious case which must be backed with “irresistible evidence.”
“There is no merit in the objection, and same is overruled,” the court held.
The panel was presided over by Justice Yaw Appau, with Justices Samuel K Marful-Sau, Honyenuga , Gertrude Torkornoo and Amadu Tanko as members.
Case at the Supreme Court
The case is at the Supreme Court after the Attorney-General invoked the supervisory jurisdiction of the apex court to challenge a decision by the Ho High Court to put an injunction on the gazetting of Mr Amewu as MP-elect and ultimately his swearing-in as MP.
The A-G is seeking an order of certiorari to quash the decision of the Ho High Court, and also an order of prohibition to stop the High Court from hearing the matter challenging the legality of the election of Mr Amewu.
Making a case for the recusal today, Mr Tsikata argued that he was ready to present witnesses who would testify to the effect that Justice Honyenuga had a “long standing personal and close relationship with Mr Amewu.”
Allowing Justice Honyenuga to be part of the panel, he argued, would defeat the principle of the rules of natural justice because Justice Honyenuga would be a judge in his own cause.
Counsel even wanted the court not to allow Justice Honyenuga to be part of the panel that would decide his application for him (Justice Honyenuga) to recuse himself as a member of the panel.
The presiding judge, Justice Appau, however, reminded counsel that Justice Honyenuga had denied any personal relationship with Mr Amewu.
He also told counsel if such an allegation was made, it was the presiding judge, in this case, which includes Justice Honyenuga, who must decide the case.
In his response, a Deputy A-G, Mr Godfred Yeboah-Dame contended that Mr Tsikata’s application was unmeritorious and had no basis in law.
The Deputy-AG argued that Mr Tsikata had failed to substantiate his claims that Justice Honyenuga was a close friend of Mr Amewu.
“Counsel owes a duty to allude to certain circumstances suggestive of bias or real likelihood of bias,” he said.