General News of Wednesday, 26 July 2017
The Court of Appeal has dismissed a motion filed by suspended lawyer Francis Xavier Sosu seeking to halt his three-year ban by the General Legal Council, pending a determination of an appeal challenging the suspension.
The GLC in June this year suspended Mr Sosu after it found him guilty of overcharging a client and also violating the legal profession’s code of conduct barring lawyers from advertising their services.
He has since filed an appeal, describing his suspension as a “substantial miscarriage of justice’’ and also a violation of Article 19 (1) of the 1992 Constitution.
The famous Human Rights lawyer contends that the suspension imposed on him is “harsh and excessive’’.
He was, therefore, seeking an order from the Court of Appeal dismissing his suspension. But before that case is heard, he tried to temporarily suspend the enforcement of the ban.
Halt the suspension
Making a case for the stay of execution at the court, counsel for Mr Sosu, Mr Samuel Cudjoe, argued that the appeal had a great chance of succeeding and, therefore, it was in the interest of justice for his client’s suspension to be halted until the appeal was determined.
He prayed the court, presided over by a single justice, Mr Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie, to consider the fact that if his client’s appeal succeeded and the stay of execution had not been granted, he would have “lost something great’’.
“Exercise your discretion and grant the stay of execution. Apart from law, the applicant has no other profession,’’ he pleaded.
Mr Cudjoe further argued that there were no rules that constituted the “grave misconduct’’ which the GLC attributed to his client for the overestimation of legal fees.
In his response, the lawyer for the GLC, Mr Kizito Beyuo, opposed the application for stay of execution, describing it as “incompetent’’.
According to him, Mr Sosu, for filing the appeal in the first instance at the Court of Appeal, had failed to properly invoke the jurisdiction of the court.
The right practice, he said, was for the suspended lawyer to have filed the appeal at the GLC, since its Disciplinary Committee was a quasi-judicial body and if he was not satisfied, before moving to the Court of Appeal.
Delivering his ruling Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie said the jurisdiction of the court had not been triggered appropriately.
He said as it stands there was no matter before a lower court which means the appropriate action should have been initiated at the General Legal Council.