“MY REPUTATION IS AT STAKE”-CHIEF JUSTICE TELLS COURT.
Tensions were high in Akuafo JCR Court on Wednesday 16th November, when the court sat at about 7:30pm to hear the matter involving Mr. Gilbert Asamoah vs Mr. Smith Dumenyo and the Electoral Commission.
Barely 7hrs more to the scheduled date for Akuafo JCR elections, the judicial board of the hall, presided over by Chief Justice Asideu was compelled to hear a suit that seeks to disqualify Mr. Smith Dumenyo from contesting the Vice President portfolio.
The plaintiff (Mr. Gilbert Asamoah) represented by Counsel Bokoe, Counsel Ibrahim and Counsel Afriye-Appiah based his statement of claim on article 10/4 of the Akuafo JCR constitution which says a student of the hall must have one year left to complete his academic study in the university to be eligible to stand for an executive position and since first defendant, Mr. Smith Dumenyo is in level 200 and offering a four year course, he is disqualified by that provision.
Counsel for first defendant, (Mr. Smith Dumenyo) Mr. Jeffrey Asamoah and counsel for second defendant(Electoral Commission), Mr. Alfred Buadu moved for a ‘submission of no case’ on the assertion that, since plaintiff stated in his affidavit that the first defendant(Mr. Smith) was duly nominated, there is no reason to be in court contesting his qualification.
Counsel for plaintiff, Mr. Bokoe then explained to the court that duly nominated simply means Mr. Smith filed his application to contest the position. After a few throwbacks between counsels from both sides, the 3 panel jury recessed for about 20 minutes and returned with thier ruling on the ‘submission of no case’. In a unanimous decision, they threw out the submission and proceeded to grant 15 minutes by request to the defendants to prepare their defence.
The joint defence of first and second defendants built their case on article 9/3 article 10/1 and the first part of article 10/4.
Article 9/3 prevents any executive from contesting a second term, so their argument there was that, before any executive can contest a second term it means he started his first tenure in level 200.
Article 10/1 prohibits final year students from contesting and the part of 10/4 they chose says you should have resided in the hall at least one full academic year to be eligible, and all those provisions have been met by Mr. Smith. Counsel for defence then prayed the court to use a cumulative reading of articles 9/3, 10/1 and 10/4 to quash the suit brought before it.
Counsel Afriye-Appiah(for plaintiff) then reminded the court of the clear language stated in article 10/4 which is a contestant must have 1 year left to complete to be eligible.
The court recessed for about 80 mins and returned with their decision.
Presiding judge, Justice Asiedu then explained that, the substance of the case is delicate and for that matter he and his panel cannot deliver a judgement then, (“…my reputation is at stake”), he told the court. And for that matter, the jury placed an injunction on the elections scheduled for today, 17th November 2016 and set 6:00pm for judgement after which the elections will take place on Friday, 18th November 2016.
Report by Oswald K. Azumah