The third hearing of John Mahama’s election petition trial at the Supreme Court today ended with a warning issued to Former Attorney General Dominic Ayine by the Chief Justice.
During today’s proceedings, the Apex Court set five determination to ensure that it meets the 42-day timeline required for an election petition as stated in its election manual.
Dr Dominic Ayine who was not in favour of the ruling of the seven-member panel of judges reacted.
This reaction caught the attention of Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, the presiding judge for today’s hearing, who cautioned the former A-G against such overt expressions of displeasure towards the apex court’s decision.
Parts of the ruling state that “the petitioner and the witnesses shall file witness statements with exhibits if any by noon of Thursday, January 21, 2021”.
It also requires that the witness statements be served on the counsel for the respondents by the close of the day on Thursday, January 21, 2021. In addition, the respondents and their witnesses if any shall file their witness statements with exhibits by the close of the day on Friday, January 22, 2021.
Dr Ayine’s body language after this was read out was interpreted as disrespectful by the Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah.
Addressing the former A-G, the Chief Justice stated: “When the bench engages counsel, you don’t sit down and make gestures as if you are part of the legal team. I have been watching you, this is not fair.”
He admonished Dr Ayine not to repeat such actions going forward.
Meanwhile, Dr Dominic Ayine, who spoke to the media after court proceedings in response to the new rules explained that his reaction was out of shock and not meant as a disrespect to the apex court.
“To be honest with you I was shocked at what was happening and you all realized that the Chief Justice singled me out that my body language was inappropriate.
“But that is because I was very shocked, because after 25 years of law practice, I’ve never seen this happen, that a court will arbitrarily announce the timelines for the parties without consultations.”
He further argued that the Apex Court has prioritised an expeditious proceeding over the delivery of justice.
“The Supreme Court is seeking to sacrifice justice on the altar of a so-called speedy trial,” he said.