The Member of Parliament for Assin North Constituency, James Gyakye Quayson is asking the Supreme Court to set aside a Court of Appeal decision that struck out his appeal against a High Court decision for non-compliance with court procedures.
A Court of Appeal in Cape Coast on March 22, 2022, threw out an application by the Assin North MP, challenging the High Court’s ruling that declared the parliamentary election as null and void, meaning that the MP could not hold himself as such.
The presiding Judge, Her ladyship Irene Charity Larbi on Tuesday stated that the MP failed to comply with the court’s directive of making his written submission within a stipulated period of 21 days beginning from the day the application was filed in October 2021.
Five months on, the written submission has still not been filed.
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The Presiding Judge thus ordered that all applications before the panel in relation to the Assin North MP are to be struck out.
But lawyers for Mr. Quayson will not have it. They are accusing the Court of Appeal of acting arbitrarily.
Recounting the events of March 22, 2022, the lawyers said they prompted the court about a pending motion seeking to disqualify the Presiding Judge from continuing with the case.
This motion was due to be heard on March 24.
They, however, say the Presiding Judge did not allow Lead Counsel, Tsatsu Tsikata, to press for the case to be put on hold.
The lawyers also alleged that a defective registrar summon was used to call the case in Court.
“….when the case was called, Lead Counsel, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, drew the attention of the Court to the fact that, given the form in which the certificate had been issued, he did not even know how to announce himself. The presiding Judge, upon seeing that the form of the certificate was wrong, immediately announced in open court that what Counsel had drawn attention to was ‘only a clerical error’ when, in fact, the certificate was simply not compliant with Civil Form 11 A in the Court of Appeal (Amendment) Rules, 1999 (C. I. 25).”
The Lawyers claim that despite pointing out the defects, the Presiding Judge went ahead to correct them in her handwriting.
“The Court held up proceedings and waited until the Registrar came into court, whereupon the Presiding Judge then proceeded to give directions as to the “corrections” to be effected by her handwriting.”
The lawyers also claim that the Court went on recess and returned not to rule on the objection regarding the defects, but rather to strike out the appeal without giving the legal team a chance to speak to that matter.
They, therefore, want the Supreme Court to quash this decision and restore all processes relating to the appeal.
Mr. Gyakye Quayson went to the Court of Appeal in an attempt to overturn a High Court judgment nullifying his election as Assin North MP, and consequently removing him as a Member of Parliament and ordering a re-run of the poll in the constituency.
While at it, however, the disputed Member of Parliament proceeded to the Supreme Court, applications in hand, to quash the appellate court’s decision not to refer the said contentious constitutional provision for interpretation.
He also asked the apex court to order a stay of the appeal proceedings and to refer to itself for constitutional interpretation, the said article 94(2)(a).
The Constitution in article 94 (2) (a) disqualifies a person who owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana from becoming a Member of Parliament. Mr. Quayson’s lawyers have insisted right from the trial court that the provision needed interpretation.