Monday, 24 January

'I met AG on Ghana School of Law issues' – Justice Dotse denies Opuni bias claims

General News
Justice Dotse

Supreme Court Judge Justice Jones Dotse has responded to a call on him by Ex-COCOBOD CEO Dr Stephen Opuni to recuse himself from the seven-member enhanced panel of the apex court, which is billed to rule on a review application filed by Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame, in which the lawyer of the state is praying the apex court to overturn its own earlier ruling in which it prohibited Justice Clemence Honyenuga from continuing to hear the GHS271 million financial loss for which Dr Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo have been standing trial for the past four years. 

In his affidavit dated 25 October 2021 in support of his recusal application a day before the court’s ruling on the review application, Dr Opuni said his attention has been drawn to a widely circulated internet publication by one Kelvin Taylor, a Ghanaian broadcaster in the United States of America in which he alleged that Mr Dame, on 15 October 2021, went to the office of Justice Jones Dotse, the presiding judge and had an extensive meeting with him.

Dr Opuni said the alleged meeting, according to Kevin Taylor, lasted for more than two hours.

“… I state that the said two-hour meeting which, according to the broadcast of the said Kevin Taylor, took place on the said Friday, the 15th day of October 2021, after the hearing of the oral arguments on Tuesday, the 12th day of October 2021, in respect of the review application, leaves me in serious doubts of the impartiality of his Lordship Justice Jones Dotse in the review application and convinces me that the Attorney General intends to use all means to ensure that I am convicted.”

“… I have been advised by counsel and, verily believe same to be true, that it is a truism and an established principle of law that justice should not only be done but manifestly and undoubted be seen to be done”, he argued in his affidavit.

Dr Opuni added: “Unfortunately, the continuation of Justice Jones Dotse will destroy this sacred legal cliché. I pray that Justice Jones Dotse is recused as member of the review panel to enable meaning to be given to this legal cliché.” 

But Justice Dotse, in response, said Dr Opuni has no grounds to call for his recusal.

He explained that while serving as Acting Chief Justice in the stead of Chief Justice Anin Yeboah who was out of the country from Monday, 11 October 2021 to Monday, 18 October 2021, he met the Attorney General but the meeting was in relation to matters concerning the Ghana School of Law.

In his affidavit in opposition to Dr Opuni’s request, Justice Dotse said: “Indeed, anybody with sound legal knowledge and training will understand that in the course of our work as Judges, it is normal for Judges of my stature and the Attorney General and senior staff of the Office of Attorney General and Ministry of Justice to come into contact on a regular basis”.

“Some of the institutions by which these contacts take place include the Judicial Council and its many Committees, the Rules of Court Committee, the General Legal Council, the Legal Service Board, to mention a few”.

“Apart from issues touching the Ghana School of Law (GSL.), which I discussed with the Attorney General on the 15th of October 2021 and which did not last more than 20 minutes, I believe that the instant application has been actuated by malice and poor judgment”.

“I am in no position to comment on the depositions in paragraphs 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the affidavit in support, and the brazen attempt to connect these events to me are equally in bad taste and completely unwarranted”.

“I also deny the depositions and innuendos contained in paragraphs 12 and 13 of the affidavit in support and state that these are not grounds to require a Judge to recuse himself,” Justice Dotse stated.