A senior law lecturer at the University of Ghana School of Law says Justice Jones Dotse was wrong in commenting on the Supreme Court (SC) judgement on the voters' register.

Dr Raymond Atuguba said judges are "allowed to make public statements in specified circumstances and not comments about cases to journalists".

After several weeks of different interpretations of a Supreme Court judgement on the voters' register, Justice Dotse told journalists the court ordered the Electoral Commission (EC) to delete names of voters who registered with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards from the electoral roll.

Some people considered Justice Dotse's remarks as settling the long-standing debate about the judgement by the apex court.

Speaking on Joy FM and MultiTV's analysis programme, Newsfile on Saturday, Dr Atuguba said rule 3 (9) of the code of conduct of judges and magistrates does not allow the judge to make those comments.

"It states clearly that don't make public comments…it says speaking to a journalist is a public comment so there is no way you can say that you can speak to a journalist and still be within the rule," he argued.

Dr Atuguba continued that "…the rule says don't make public comments and if you speak to a journalist off the record that is a public comment so you can't make a public comment but you can make a public statement. What Justice Dotse did was a public comment and he shouldn't have."

The law lecturer added that journalists misinterpreted what Justice Atuguba said.

Raymond Atuguba Newsfile

"The man says I am not interpreting the judgement and then the next day all the newspapers say Justice Dotse has interpreted the judgement, how did we arrive at that in this country," Dr Atuguba quizzed.

On the contrary, the editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper spoke against the assertion that Justice Dotse violated a code of conduct of judges.

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako on the same platform indicated that Justice Dotse settled the issue relative to "those who used the NHIS cards to register."

Baako newsfile

 He said, "Justice Dotse only explained and clarified the bare facts of the judgement that has already been made public."

After quoting the sub rule 9 of rule 3, Mr Baako said, "comments and statement are used interchangeable that is clearly what it is…it is as simple as that."

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister for Power, John Jinapor believes that the status of Justice Dotse makes his comments on the SC judgement create anxiety.

Jinapor newsfile

John Jinapor and the Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akomea urged the plaintiff in the case to go for clarification of the judgement.

Akomea newsfile

 

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