A private legal practitioner, Lawyer Isaac Minta Larbi has expressed his opinion on contempt matters before the Supreme Court.

The legal luminary who has over 21 years of legal experience in Ghana and abroad stated that the recent habit of the Supreme Court summoning supposed contemnous to appear before the Supreme Court should be avoided if justice is to be seen to be done.

As a lawyer trained in human rights litigation and acquainted in the principles of a fair trail, Lawyer Isaac Minta Larbi adds that any trial in which the judge is also the prosecutor is a biased trial ab initio (from the beginning) and nothing can be done to remedy the bias or create the impression that justice has been done.

Lawyer Larbi who has done many contempt cases notes that the Supreme Court should not be the court of first instance in a contempt matter.

He states that the Supreme Court judges ought to demonstrate and manifest justice by referring the supposed contemptuous conduct to the AG who would file the necessary processes at the High Court which would allow for a fair trial with the opportunity for an appeal afterwards.

That would be the proper manifestation of justice and fairness even in a supposed contempt in facie curiae. It is the same Supreme Court that said “justice must not only be seen to be done but it must manifestly be seen to be done.”

He said, this minimum expectation must always be adhered to and seen to be coming from the Supreme Court itself that laid down this rule of justice.

Lawyer Larbi who is Chairman of the opposition NDC Legal Team in Eastern region stressed that the Supreme Court needs to demonstrate to Ghanaians that it respects the citizens constitutional right of freedom of speech and is ready to defend it the lawyer noted.

The latest contempt case heard by the supreme court was against Professor Michael Kpes­sa-Whyte ,a Lecturer at University of Ghana, Legon, and member of the NDC.

He was convicted, cautioned and dis­charged by the Supreme Court (SC), after he pleaded guilty of contempt of court.

A five-member panel presided over by Justice Mariama Owusu advised the profes­sor to be of good behaviour as a lot of people look up to him.

Prof. Kpessa-Whyte was summoned by the apex court for making scandalous and disparaging tweets, after the court on May 17,2023 declared the election of NDC Member of Parliament for Assin North Gyakye Joe Quayson, illegal, null, void and of no effect.

However ,Professor of accounting and private legal practitioner Stephen Kwaku Asare, aka Kwaku Azar slammed the Supreme Court for its penchant in inviting people over alleged contempt.

The lawyer explained that the whole practice where the apex court invites people to come and show cause why they should not be held in contempt undermines liberty and due process.,

“This is quite apart from its chilling effect on the right to freedom of expression and the duty to hold the Court accountable.Any contempt ex facie curiae case must be initiated by prosecutors, not the Court, and they must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt before a neutral judge, not those who feel their egos have been assailed.”

Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM/Kojo Ansah