Election Petition: Ato Dadzie, Thaddius Sory lock horns over Judicial Service caution to media

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    A Judicial Service letter cautioning sections of the media to be circumspect in their reportage of the ongoing Presidential Election Petition has become a source of banter between a former Chief of staff and lawyer for the Service.

    According to Nana Addo Dadzie the Judicial Service erred when it hired the services of a lawyer to direct the media to pull or cause to be pulled down and cleared from their platforms all hateful, spiteful, vengeful and incendiary comments about the Justices of the Supreme Court, especially those hearing the election petition of former President John Mahama.

    “Counsel in “representing’ Judicial Service here may very well be representing no legal personality. In such circumstances counsel’s brief may be empty and hollow, Mr Dadzie in a social media post pointed out on Sunday.

    In his reply, the lawyer for the Service, Thaddius Sory agreed that it is a statement of the law and unassailable fact that his client is not a legal personality.

    However, he argued that it is clear from C.A. 10 that the Judicial Service is a legally constituted statutory entity and has clear functions.

    According to him, there are oceans of authorities to settle the point that it is not the law that only legal persons can assert rights. Unincorporated persons may assert rights too.

    “The Service will not be acting ultra vires if it instructs a lawyer to issue a statement on behalf of any of the groups which make up the Service. To the extent that the matter affects any of the identified groups within the Service, it is within the province of the Service to act to protect that group.

    “Further recent jurisprudence has established without any fear of contradiction that several statutory bodies have been accorded the right to assert rights in legal proceedings without being statutorily incorporated [even though so established]. See the case of Amegatcher v Attorney-General (No2) [2012] 2 SCGLR 933,” the former lawyer for the Electoral Commission argued.

    The present debate has been occasioned by a disputation over the 7th December 2020 Presidential Election results as announced by the Electoral Commission.

    In his pleading to the Supreme Court, the Petitioner, a former President and flagbearer of the NDC in that Election urged the Supreme Court to annul the declaration and organise a runoff between himself and the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who was announced the winner in that election.

    According to John Dramani Mahama, his position is informed by the fact that none of the parties in that election crossed the constitutionally required threshold of more than 50% of the total valid votes cast to be announced an outright winner.

    The following has been attached for easy reference.

    1. The caution statement from the Judicial Service
    2. The reaction from Mr. Ato Dadzie
    3. The reply from Lawyer Sory