General News of Tuesday, 11 July 2017
The Court of Appeal has set July 26 to rule on an application for a stay of execution pending appeal by suspended human rights lawyer, Mr Francis Xavier Sosu, over his suspension from legal practice by the General Legal Council (GLC).
The court adjourned the matter after both counsels for Mr Sosu and the GLC made their submissions for and against the motion.
Mr Sosu filed the application seeking to put on hold his three-year suspension from the legal profession pending the final determination of his appeal by the court.
In his submission, counsel for Mr Sosu, Mr Samuel Cudjo told the court that his client has been suspended for a period three years for overestimation of fees as well as advertising his services.
He said they had filed an appeal for both his conviction and sentencing, because they were charged with grave professional misconduct, and were found liable.
“It is our position that amongst other grounds the charge of grave misconduct is a charge which has not been defined, therefore it is wrong for us to be charged with that. Thus the charge was not properly laid.”
He prayed the court to grant their appeal, saying “the disciplinary committee of the GLC is a not a legal entity, more so it cannot suspend anybody for over estimation.”
He argued that the three years for suspension was blown out of proportion and was too harsh for his client.
Counsel for the GLC Mr Kizito Beyuo, however opposed the application saying the jurisdiction of the court is statutory and can and must only be exercised within the terms of statutes. This court is not called upon in this application to determine the merits of the applicants appeal.
He said there were special circumstances warranting a stay of execution and the applicants must go through all, adding that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the application because there was no valid notice of appeal to vest it with jurisdiction.
Mr Beyuo argued that at this moment the record of appeal in this appeal, has not been compiled, much more forwarded to the court.
“He has admitted that his notice was not filed in the registry of the GLC, and so there is no valid appeal on which this application for stay of execution, pending appeal can be found.
“The application is incompetent and the court has no jurisdiction to entertain it. I therefore pray that the application is dismissed”, he said.
The court adjourned the case to July 26 for its ruling.
At the last sitting the court adjourned the case following a request by lawyers for the GLC to consult their clients following what they call new allegations against some officers of the council.
The GLC earlier in June this year banned Mr Sosu, a Human Rights lawyer, from practicing as a lawyer for three years, for overcharging a client as well as advertising his services.
It said that, within the 3-year period, Lawyer Sosu “shall not hold himself out as a Legal Practitioner or attend Chambers, or render, or purport to render any professional legal service to any person whomsoever, wheresoever.”