Drama unfolded inside a Sekondi High Court on Monday, this week, when the judgment in the case challenging the eligibility of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Jomoro in the Western Region, Dorcas Afo Tofey, was delivered by the presiding judge, Justice Dr Richmond Osei Hwere.
The drama, which had to do with lawyers from both sides in the case, nearly turned the court room into a boxing arena, after a hectic confrontation.
It all started after the court held that Dorcas Tofey was validly elected and consequently dismissed the petition brought against her, resulting in the supporters on the side of the MP, mostly NDC members, burst into spontaneous jubilation.
As it has always been the practice, Godwin Edudzi Tamekloe, Counsel for the MP, rose to his feet after the Judge had finished reading his judgment to thank him.
When it got the turn of Frank Davies, Counsel for the petitioner and one of the respected lawyers in the country, he expected his colleague (Edudzi) to have called his supporters to order.
Davies went on to say that, it has been the character of NDC to always attack judges whenever a case goes against them. However, when a case goes in their favour, the judges are considered to be good.
This comment, apparently, did not go down well with a former Attorney General (AG), Marietta Brew Oppong, another brilliant lawyer, who rose to her feet to react. But Frank Davies wanted to react as well, so she told him that he was out of order. This development resulted in a heated exchange words between the two.
The unhealthy development was exacerbated when the judge left the court room and went into his chambers, after he had finished reading the judgement.
Speaking to the media later, Frank Davies said he did not expect Marietta Brew to have told him that he was out of order.
According to Davies, the former AG was rather out of order, if she knew basic court room practice. “I did not take it lightly when she said I was out of order,” he said.
To Davies, he did not see anything wrong with what he said, regarding NDC members taking on judges when a case goes against them. He explained that as a senior at the Bar and considering that all those who were inside the court room at that time were his juniors, he was right to have raised the issue about how NDC attack judges when cases go against them.
This, he said, did not have to invite such comments from Marietta Brew that he was out of order.
It would be recalled that the judgment in the case, which led to the confrontation, went in favour of the Jomoro MP, when the court upheld her election as valid.
When Joshua Kwofie, the petitioner, filed the petition on January 8, 2021 and accused Respondent of holding dual nationality, the Respondent denied the accusation outright.
Respondent in response to the petition said she renounced her Ivorian nationality before she filed to contest the seat.
Petitioner, however, made application before the court to compel Respondent to produce the certificate of renunciation of her Ivorian nationality.
Respondent, through her Counsel, however, argued that she did not have to produce the certificate and that the burden of proof lied on the petitioner.
After listening to legal arguments from both sides, the sitting judge ruled and ordered Respondent to produce the renunciation certificate in a period of two weeks.
The basic reason for the judge’s order was that, it was the Respondent who had the certificate and only she could produce it.
Unsatisfied with the ruling, Respondent appealed at the Court of Appeal but lost.Respondent then filed for a motion for the court to allow her amend portions of her witness statement.
The High Court refused on grounds that she had not complied with the earlier ruling, ordering her to produce the renunciation certificate.
The judge in his ruling, however, gave a caveat that if Respondent complied with the order and produced the certificate, she would then be allowed to amend her witness statement.
Respondent consequently complied with the order and produced the certificate of renunciation, leading to the court allowing her to amend portions of her witness statement.
Before respondent complied with the order to produce the renunciation certificate, petitioner’s counsel had brought a committal of contempt application against Respondent. But in the end, the contempt application was dismissed.