Former Justice of the Supreme Court, William Atuguba, has criticized the apex court over the trial of Assin North MP, James Gyakye Quayson.
The legislator has been facing a marathon of legal issues for allegedly failing to renounce his Canadian citizenship before contesting the 2020 parliamentary elections.
Speaking at a public lecture themed “Protecting our democracy: the role of the Judiciary”, Justice Atuguba expressed concerns over the Supreme Court’s decision to re-try the Gyakye Quayson case, as the High Court, per the constitution, has the power to hear challenges to parliamentary results.
“The James Gyakye Quayson’s decision by the Supreme Court is with all due respect scandalous in that the court, in the teeth of the settled maxim Res Judicata et non quieta movere, re-adjudicated the same matter that has been adjudicated upon by the High Court on the merits. All that was left was its execution according to court processes.
“Again the stress laid by the court on the statutory processes for acquisition and renunciation of citizenship shot itself in the foot. If the certificate of renunciation is so mandatory and conclusive why was it not conclusive in its effect to qualify Gyakye Quason when he received it, dated 26th November 2020, whereas the parliamentary election was held on 7th December 2020? Statutes, judgements, and documents must always be applied with consistency both in the letter and spirit.
“These must always be construed holistically and as instruments of justice since it is a well-settled principle that the duty of a court is to do justice and a court should not be turned away from doing justice.”
The Gyakye Quayson case has been widely seen as a test case for Ghana’s democracy. The Supreme Court’s decision to retry the case and disqualify the MP raised concerns about the independence of the judiciary and the potential for the court to be used to overturn the results of elections.