The Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Godfred Dame has received flak for suggesting to the Chief Justice to punish lawyers who engage in social media commentaries on judgments or scandalize the courts.
Director of Legal Affairs of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Mr Abraham Amaliba said the Attorney General, by his conduct, is seeking to gag lawyers who have dissenting views on judgments delivered especially by the Supreme Court.
In his view, Mr Dame is becoming a danger to justice delivery system in Ghana.
Speaking on the New Day show on TV3 Friday April 22, Mr Amaliba said “The Attorney General is becoming a danger to our justice delivery system. He seeks to gag people who have a different view of judgements coming from the Supreme Court. He makes it look like we must all think alike as lawyers and as that, if you dissent then that means you are denigrating the Supreme Court.”
Meanwhile, the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has supported the concerns raised against the conduct of some lawyers criticizing and scandalising the courts on social media in an attempt at criticizing judgments of the courts.
This comes after Mr Godfred Dame condemned the practice of some lawyers who attack the courts and judges on social media when judgments do not go in their favour especially with the high profile political cases.
He wants lawyers who engage in such practices punished for their conduct.
Mr Dame made these remarks at the Bench, Bar and Faculty conference in Accra on Thursday April 21.
He said “My Lord Chief Justice, one would have thought that lawyers would have taken advantage of the digital revolution, which I have spoken about this morning, to consolidate the importance of this legal profession and its role in the affairs of the state.
“On the contrary, recent developments disclose systematic attempt by certain lawyers, often belonging to a side of the political divide to deploy social media to denigrate the administration of justice through poisoning and caustic attacks on judgements of the courts, albeit unjustified. This is often worsened in commentary on so-called political cases where some lawyers perceive the outcome to have a far reaching consequences for the objectives of political parties they sympathize with.”
He added “Faced with adverse rulings, some lawyers go to the rather farcical extent of actually advocating for the abolishing or scrapping our courts.
“The most deplorable thing about such endeavour is that many times their vicious comments are plainly wrong yet the propagators of these wrong and dangerous ideas do not relent in their efforts to push them down the throat of unsuspecting public.
“Such disreputable practice on the part of some lawyers further becomes an inducement to persons who are not members of the legal profession to launch even more savage and illogical attacks on the judiciary.
“This conduct is clearly despicable as it has the ultimate tendency to destroy the integrity of institutions of justice delivery in Ghana. Such conducts should result in sanctions inflicted on lawyers in question.”
Sharing his views on the Attorney General’s concerns while speaking in interview with TV3 on the sidelines of the event, the Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Bar Association Mr Savior Kudze said “I think that the points he raised were very germane in the sense that this is a profession, we have a way we criticize judgements.
“We do this mostly in what we call Review of Ghana Law, which is a publication by the Council for Law Reporting, so if you have a judgement that the judge has delivered and as a lawyer you disagree with, what you do is that you write a critique.
“Writing a critique means that you look at the merit and demerits of the judgements and you rely on the law as you know it, come to the conclusion and say that ‘having reviewed the judgement, the judges ought to have given the decision this way and and not the way they have done it’.
“That is the best way of doing it but going on social media and doing it is not the best because that has underpinning of emotions and once you are in the realm of emotions your reasoning stops as a lawyer or as a person.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana