A private legal practitioner, Dr. Rainer Akumperigya has described the Chief Justice’s reaction to the research findings of law lecturer, Prof. Raymond Atuguba, as an affront to free speech.
Prof. Atuguba, after analyzing nearly 100 political cases presided over by the Supreme Court, found that in cases where the laws aren’t “clear”, the judges usually vote in favour of the political parties that appointed them to the apex court.
But the Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo and some Supreme Court justices did not take kindly to his research as they openly chastised him.
Sophia Akuffo, said the research was alien to Ghana’s democracy.
“It is an American type of research that you have done…that’s fine, but please be careful what you are importing into our environment… They [Americans] are used to that, we are not. I don’t think there was a single judge who agreed with what you were saying,” she said.
Justice Jones Dotse also said the research was an insult to judges.
But according to Dr. Akumperigya, the comments made by the Justices and their derision of Prof Atuguba’s research is an affront to free speech.
Speaking on The Big Issue on Saturday, Dr. Akumperigya said, the justices could have challenged the findings of the report without criticizing the effort to produce it.
“You may have contrary views on that basis that this is not true or perhaps I didn’t vote this way as your purport that I voted. Our constitution and democracy is premised on free speech and fair comment. If the professor of law faculty cannot do that even against any authority in this country then no one can. What I heard and the exchanges that took place at that forum is an affront to free speech and fair comment. It is that serious,” he said.
Meanwhile, a law lecturer, Professor Kwaku Asare has called on the Justices of the Supreme Court to avoid hurling criticism at Prof. Atuguba over the findings, but rather draw important values from it.
“Rather than play political football with Atuguba’s findings, let us draw the proper policy implications,” he said in Facebook post.