The High Court has dismissed a case brought by 14 circuit judges and magistrates to stop disciplinary proceedings against them.

The 14 lower court judges had argued the disciplinary proceedings, initiated by the Judicial Council, were instituted in breach of the constitution.

They are part of 22 lower court judges caught on video allegedly taking bribes to pervert justice.

Acting on a petition filed by journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas who documented the alleged infractions, Chief Justice Georgina Wood and the Judicial Council established a five-member committee to probe them.

Fourteen of the 22, represented by lawyer John Ndebugri however, went to the High Court arguing the committee had no mandate to sit on the matter.

[L] John Ndebugri and Chief Justice Georgina Wood

The Attorney-General filed a motion asking the High Court presided over by a Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Gertrude Torkornoo, to dismiss the case of the 14.

The court agreed with the A-G’s arguments and dismissed the case.

Justice Torkornoo said the court could not constitute a guard on the Judicial Council’s discharge of its administrative functions.  

Two of the 12 High Court judges also caught in the judicial bribery scandal are also in court challenging not only the legality of investigations into the allegations against them but also the legality of the evidence collected by Anas.

Both Justice Paul Uuter Dery and Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh say the recordings by Anas and his Tiger Eye PI were done in violation of their right to privacy.

A writ filed by Justice Dery

They say the evidence cannot, therefore, be relied on to impeach them.

Justice Dery has taken his case to the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the steps being taken by the Chief Justice to determine whether or not there is prima facie case against him.

He argued Anas breached Article 146 (8) of the Constitution when he screened the video at the Accra International Conference Centre.

The relevant provision reads: "All proceedings under this article shall be held in camera, and the Justice or Chairman against whom the petition is made is entitled to be heard in his defence by himself or by a lawyer or other expert of his choice."

Justice Dery argues both the Chief Justice and Anas have breached this constitutional provision through various acts of commission.

He wants the highest court of the land to declare Anas' petition for his removal from the Bench null and void.

He suffered a setback Tuesday, September 29, when the High Court dismissed his application for contempt against Anas, two editors at the New Crusading Guide newspaper, the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa, Sulemana Braimah, and CEO of Starr FM, Kwabena Anokye Addisi.

The court said it could not commit the five to prison after Justice Dery himself withdrew his earlier application for injunction against the screening of the video.

His substantive cases are yet to be heard.

  

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