General News of Saturday, 20 April 2013
Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., has registered his displeasure with the decision by Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood to arrogate unto herself the power to issue administrative directives regarding the live telecast of the Supreme Court’s hearing of the substantive petition challenging the validity of the election of President Mahama.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday April 16th, endorsed the live telecast of its proceedings via television and radio to, as it were, ease the tension, the taking of sides and acrimony that had characterised the petition challenging Mr. Mahama’s presidency.
Prior to the endorsement, Justice Georgina Wood had in a statement on Monday directed that the proceedings of the presidential election petition be broadcast live via television and radio.
The statement issued and signed by the Judicial Secretary, Justice Alex B. Poku-Acheampong, said the decision has been taken in response to the increasing calls from the public for the proceedings of the Court to be broadcast live in view of the historic importance of this case.
The statement hoped that the decision “will deepen” the country’s democracy and “satisfy the greater public desire for accurate and up-to-date information on this historic and landmark case”.
But the seasoned journalist avers the Chief Justice was “wrong” to usurp the authority of the Supreme Court after the nine-member panel had earlier assented to hear the case off camera.
Without mincing words, the outspoken Socialist stated emphatically that the Chief Justice had no authority “whatsoever to review a decision of the court.”
To him, she goofed by appropriating unto herself the right to issue administrative directives on how the Supreme Court operate regarding hearings.
He questioned the authority of Mrs. Theodora Wood on Peace FM’s morning show “Kokrokoo”, asking “does the Chief Justice have authority to overrule the decision of the court? She doesn’t have even administratively.”
According to him, “once an administrative matter is determined by the court in session, it ceases to be a mere administrative matter. It ceases to be a mere administrative matter, it can only be changed through a review”, therefore her decision to allow a live broadcast of the case is a breach of the process.
Whiles pointing out that he is not into the merit of whether the televising the court proceedings on television and radio is bad or good, the “Insight” newspaper editor reiterated that in his view, she (Mrs Theodora Wood) has “no power whatsoever to review a decision of the court. She has no such power. In fact, the Chief Justice herself is subject to the ruling of the Supreme Court. She’s not above the Supreme Court. So, in this respect, I have a big big problem with how this matter was handled.”
“The Chief Justice was wrong to do that and that does not mean that showing the thing on television was right or was wrong. I’m not interested in that, I’m interested in the process and I think the process was wrong,” he insisted.