The Supreme Court has once again cautioned lawyers on their public pronouncements on the ongoing 2020 presidential election petition hearing.
According to the court, some of those comments were prejudicial and the attention of the bench has been drawn to it.
The Court said: “Immediately after proceedings counsel from both sides resort to granting interviews to the media, and at times some of them keep on twisting the facts which actually occurred in the court and seek to even prejudice whatever the court proceedings were. So lawyers who are engaged in it are to please have a look at Regulation 55 of L.I. 2423 (Legal Profession Etiquette, Conduct and Etiquette Rules).
The Chief Justice read Rule 55(C) which states: “A lawyer shall not publish or cause to be published a material concerning current or potential proceedings including proceedings for which the lawyer is engaged or seeks to be engaged in, which is inaccurate or has received comments or necessary description.”
“Then ‘C’, is calculated or likely to a material degree to diminish or be prejudicial to the public confidence in the administration of justice.”
Giving the caution Monday afternoon [February 8, 2021], the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah said both parties from the petitioner and the second respondent were guilty of that.
The Chief Justice, specifically mentioned former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah Opong as an example during media interviews after hearing.
“Please both sides are guilty of it, and especially my dear sister Marietta [Brew Appiah Opong], at times, yes, you make statements even touching on the demeanor of witnesses, so please, it is a passionate plea from the bench, lets respect the ethical rules.”
He also mentioned lawyer Yaw Oppong from the second respondent’s side, who he said appeared in a media interview on Joy News’ Newsfile programme on Saturday [February 6, 2021]; an act which breached Rule 38 of the Legal Professional Conduct and Ethical Rules, 2020.
“Mr [Yaw] Oppong too, you are also guilty of it, because you were at the Newsfile and we think that since you have been announced in this case, it is unacceptable,” the Chief Justice added.