The Supreme Court has, in a unanimous decision, ordered that the Kennedy Agyapong contempt case be transferred to a different judge.
The court said Justice Amos Wuntah Wuni is prohibited from hearing the matter any further. This was after lawyers for the Member of Parliament (MP) accused the judge of demonstrating hostility towards them.
Mr Agyapong is facing contempt charge for unsavory comment he made about a judge.
Justice Awuni, thus, asked that he justifies why he should not be sanctioned for it.
A Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, on Wednesday, told the Supreme Court that some comments made by Assin Central MP regarding a Justice of the High Court were scandalous.
These are the comments that have resulted in the MP standing trial for contempt. The legislator’s lawyers had urged the Supreme Court to stop the High Court judge from hearing the contempt case.
Lead Counsel for Mr Agyapong, Kwame Gyan on Wednesday moved the application. He explained that the comments made by the MP were directed at another Justice of the High Court and not Justice Wuni.
He also said even if the comments referred to Justice Wuni, by hearing the matter, he had breached the rules of natural justice by being a judge in his own cause.
He also accused Justice Wuni of “demonstrating extreme hostility”.
He explained that the judge said during the proceedings that if the MP touches a live wire, he will be electrocuted.
He added that even when he insisted during the proceedings that evidence of the comments made by the MP should be obtained and made available to the judge, the judge asked that they can get the video from Net2.
He further alleged the charge sheet handed to him in the course of the trial was not even signed. The panel of judges, presided over by Justice Baffoe Bonnie, said such defects do not affect the substantive proceedings.
A member of the panel, Yaw Appau, reacted to the point regarding the fact that the comment referred to another judge.
He said there is only one High Court and the comments could not have referred to a particular judge but a court.
Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, opposed the application by Mr Agyapong’s lawyers.
He said the application erroneously assumes that the mere separation of the High Court into divisions makes it different. He argued there is only one High Court and it can take up any matter of contempt.
He told the court that the only matter that ought to generate the attention of the Supreme Court was whether or not the comments made by the MP scandalised the court. He insisted, it cannot be in doubt that the comments scandalised the court.
He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the application describing it as unmeritorious. He, however, reminded the court that it had the power to grant the application if it finds that in the course of the contempt proceedings at the High Court, due process wasn’t followed.
The panel ruled that the case be transferred to another judge saying a case for Justice Wuni to be prohibited from hearing the matter has been made.
The case was heard by Justices Baffoe Bonnie, Yaw Appau, Gabriel Pwamang, Tanko and Yonni Kulendi.