A former president of the Ghana Bar Association, Mr Sam Okudjeto says counsel for the third respondents in the just-ended election petition, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata must retract his criticism of a justice of the Supreme Court because it did not augur well for the country.
He noted that Mr Tsikata’s comments accusing Justice Anin Yeboah, one of the nine Supreme Court Justices that heard the petition, of allowing his political affiliations to cloud his judgement, were likely to affect the peace and tranquility being enjoyed in the country since it could cause the public to lose confidence in the courts.
Mr Tsikata, lead counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), made the comment at the weekend on a programme on TV3, claiming that Justice Anin Yeboah, from the onset consistently took an opposing stance against the NDC’s arguments and position as far as the case was concerned.
He has since been rebuked by the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, describing the attacks as being without basis and clearly calculated by Tsatsu and the NDC to dent the image of the judiciary.
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has also described the comments by Mr Tsikata as unwarranted and unacceptable.
Speaking on the matter on Accra-based Joy FM, Mr Sam Okudjeto noted that never in his fifty years experience at the Bar had he heard of such attacks on judges.
“I think this is a sad day for Ghana and I think he should be asked to retract this statement because it does not augur well for peace and tranquility and for respect to the court,” he said.
Commenting further, Mr Okudjeto noted that he expected the acceptance and congratulatory speeches from Nana Akufo-Addo and President John Mahama to seal the peace in the country, “rather, it looks like we are opening new wounds with this kind of attacks.”
“And more so, Tsatsu Tsikata is not a child; he’s one of the very senior lawyers at the bar and a lecturer at Legon. So I am rather shocked that he should go on public television to attack a sitting judge on allegation that he was appointed by someone,” he added.
Mr Okudjeto further said that all the judges who heard the matter were appointed by presidents of the state.
He added that Justice Anin Yeboah’s appointment as a Supreme Court judge was based on a recommendation by the Bar Executive.
“Since 1965, I have been involved in the Bar Executive in one way or the other and we vet people to be appointed and Anin Yeboah was one of those people recommended to the Court of Appeal and he was appointed before his elevation to the Supreme Court. So I am actually shocked, this NPP party matter that has come up now, I am actually shocked at him,” he said.
Mr Okudjeto further cautioned that such attacks were likely to reduce the confidence that people have in the courts.
“We should be careful…because if the public loses confidence in the judiciary, we are doomed as a people because it means that next time somebody loses a case in the court, he will say that I will not go to the court again, let me rather take the law into my own hands and I don’t think it is the right approach,” he said.
By Jasmine Arku/graphic.com.gh/Ghana
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