Election Petition: Judges Threaten Empty Court

Judges hearing the election petition at the Supreme Court have issued a stern warning to both lawyers and spectators in court to desist from cheers and other obnoxious remarks that sought to undermine the courteousness of the court.

The judges, who were not enthused by the attitudes of persons in court, cited the civil manner persons who thronged the Kenyan court to observe a similar election petition conducted themselves.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday began hearing a petition brought by three leading members of the New Patriotic Party challenging the December 2012 presidential results.

In the course of his cross examination, the attention of the lead counsel for the first respondent, Tony Lithur, was drawn by a judge and the lead counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison, to the effect that he was “intimidating” Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the second petitioner. Mr Lithur denied the assertion, saying he only has a “strong voice”.

At this point the intermittent murmuring and under voices in the room grew a bit stronger, compelling one of the judges to mildly complain about “an emerging trend which is not good” but was going on in the court room.

He said lawyers and spectators in the room are taking part in the proceedings by “trying to shout or hoot”, something that is not done in court. He suggested that persons involved have misconstrued the place to be a football park where one is permitted to exhibit some level of indiscretion – clapping and cheering.

He therefore employed all, “we must try and respect the rules of the game” in the highest court of the land.

He reminded them that whether they like the comments made by any of the counsel or not, they must bear with him or her.

“It is a very dangerous development and I want to crave your indulgence to stop it,” he added. Commenting in support of his colleague judge, another judge underscored: “If it continues, we may be compelled to empty the court room and leave out the parties and lawyers.

“There must be some decorum and order here.

“You observe what happened in Kenya, so much civility…let show that Ghana is a decorous country,” the judge said.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has adjourned sitting to Monday April 22, 2013.