Supreme Court removes Wuntah from Kennedy Agyapong trial
The Supreme Court has prohibited an Accra High Court judge, Justice Amos Wuntah Wuni, from hearing a contempt case against Kennedy Agyapong, Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central Constituency in the Central Region.
The Supreme Court held that all proceedings before Justice Amos Wuntah Wuni were nullified.
The five-member panel decision was, however, in two folds, thus it held that an order for Mr Agyapong to appear before the High Court to answer a contempt charge is preserved, while all other proceedings before Justice Amos Wuntah Wuni were quashed.
This was as the Assin Central Member of Parliament had filed an application at the apex court for it to prohibit the High Court Judge from hearing the contempt case and also quash the order of summons for Mr Agyapong to appear before the court on the basis that the particular court (Land Court 12) that summoned him had no jurisdiction to do so.
But, the panel, presided over by Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, upheld that the alleged conduct of Mr Agyapong scandalises the court and brings the name of the court into disrepute, hence refused to grant his application.
The court said: “Justice Wuni is prohibited from hearing the matter. The docket should be sent back to Registrar of the High Court for it to be put before a different High Court Judge.”
According to the justices, Mr Agyapong would still be on trial for contempt over his alleged comments which scandalizsed the court and brought its name into disrepute, however, the trial will not be before Justice Amos Wuntah Wuni, who had been presiding over the matter since it commenced.
The court also stated that it would give its full reason for the decision on October 20.
Earlier, Counsel for Mr Agyapong, Mr Kwame Gyan, arguing his case, told the court that they were before it seeking certiorari to quash the totality of the proceedings of the High Court, on the grounds of wrongful assumption of jurisdiction.
He said the alleged comments of Mr Agyapong, were not directed at the Land Court 12, but at Labour Court 2, where there was another matter.
“We are saying that he wrongfully assumed jurisdiction. He should be prohibited from hearing the case since he assumed jurisdiction in a matter that he concerns him, making him an interested party.”
A Deputy Attorney General, Mr Godfred Dame, however, opposed the application, saying there was no doubt that the comments made by Mr Agyapong were contemptuous, and the words clearly scandalised the court.
He said there was only one High Court in Ghana, and, therefore, any Justice of the High Court could assume jurisdiction in a contempt matter, so far that the contemptuous act was directed at the High Court.
Mr Dame said if the content of the publication constitutes anything that scandalised the court, then the filing of the charges by the High Court judge was appropriate.
“The application is flawed and unmeritorious,” he added.
The other members of the panel presided over by Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie were Justices Yaw Appau, Gabriel Pwamang, Issifu Omoro Tanko Amdau, and Yonny Kulendi.