Once again, I am on the back of Supreme Court Justice William Atuguba. Until the whirlwind really settles convincingly, I shall be revisiting his shameful verdict on Election 2012 petition delivered on the afternoon of that fateful Thursday, 29 August 2013, from time to time.
The style of his judgment delivery as viewed live on the airwaves has received more condemnatory comments than commendations from the rank and file of Ghanaians. Not only did the Court audience, including both litigants and members of the public, were held in absolutely unnecessary suspense for hours, sitting and sweating in the sweltering courtroom, waiting for Atuguba’s verdict that was pronounced within five minutes.
When William Atuguba, a tyrant of some sort, as deduced from how he treated one Kwadwo Afriyie, alias Sir John, finally emerged from the inner-courtroom followed by his “one long logo logo line” eight other judges, the Court clerk shouted, “Court rise”. Everyone present in the courtroom rose to their feet.
Hardly had Justice William Atuguba and his colleagues settled in their seats when the clerk shouted again, “court rise”. There was Atuguba and his colleagues on their feet in a single file hurrying out of the courtroom, having pronounced the judgment in less than five minutes of their arrival in the open courtroom.
Many an audience both within the courtroom and outside court did not believe their eyes and ears. They could not make head and tail of the behaviour by Atuguba and his eight other judges. What has Atuguba done, delivering a verdict on such a landmark case without offering full supporting reasons or statement but a haphazardly prepared summary lasting less than five minutes? What a joke, many tongues were wagging!
Now, familiarise yourself, oh Mr/Mrs/Miss Reader and probably a fan of the writer, with the reason for this quick write-up. I draw the attention of Justice William Atuguba, that shameless partisan judge without respect for the nation’s Constitution or without knowledge of Constitutional Law, to the live telecast of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) pronouncement of verdict on the appeal filed by Charles Taylor. Mr Charles Taylor, the former President of Liberia appealed his criminal sentence of fifty years handed down to him by the ICJ for war crimes against his people and the people of Sierra Leone – crimes against humanity.
On BBC television on Thursday, 26 September 2013, it was broadcast live the verdict pronouncement on the appeal filed by Charles Taylor. The Presiding Judge, read all the reasons, the arguments of the defence and the prosecution teams, at the sitting, captured live on television, justifying the verdict the Court has arrived at. What a vast distance and ocean of difference between his and that of Ghana’s Atuguba’s laughably flawed verdict delivered in less than five minutes?
Did Atuguba watch it? Did Ghana Supreme Court judges watch it? If they did, what lessons have they learnt, or are going to learn, from it? Will they again allow Atuguba and his likes to make a mockery of verdict on landmark cases being delivered live on airwaves?
The ball is now bouncing in the court of Justice Atuguba and his colleagues. I am waiting for their sensible apologetic response. They had the opportunity to kill crimes committed with impunity that are retrogressing the socio-economic advancement of Ghana. However, out of absurd reasons best known to them only, they chose to endorse the very crimes they were expected to uproot. What a shame?