Former Supreme Court Justice, Justice William Atuguba, has expressed strong criticism of the Supreme Court of Ghana’s recent judgment in the case of the Assin North legislator, Gyakye Quayson.
Speaking at a public lecture held on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, the retired Supreme Court judge labeled the court’s decision as “scandalous.”
Justice Atuguba argued that the Supreme Court should not have taken on the case in the first place.
He contended that the matter had already been adjudicated by the High Court, and the Supreme Court’s decision to proceed with it contradicts a fundamental principle of law.
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,” he said.
Justice Atuguba insisted that the proper course of action for the Supreme Court should have been to execute the High Court’s decision rather than initiate a new trial.
The case in question revolves around the eligibility of Gyakye Quayson, the Assin North legislator, to hold office as a Member of Parliament.
He was ejected from Parliament in May 2022 following the Supreme Court decision annulling the 2020 constituency election.
The ruling by the Supreme Court generated significant controversy and debate, leading Justice Atuguba to voice his concerns publicly.
“The Supreme Court does not stand in good light with all due respect in disqualifying Gyakye Quayson, despite his clear certificate of renunciation of his Canadian citizenship as from 26th November 2020
whereas the elections were on December 7. I am not able to see substantial justice in this,” he added.
In furtherance of his point, the former Supreme Court Justice explained that “the statutory processes for acquisition and renunciation of citizenship shot itself in the foot.”
“If the certificate of renounciation 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.”
Subsequently, the MP was put forth again by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the bye-election and claimed the seat in Assin North.
In that poll, Gyakye Quayson emerged victorious after polling 17,245 votes representing 57.56%.
His main rival, Charles Opoku of the New Patriotic Party polled 12,630 or 42.15% of valid votes to place second, while Liberal Party of Ghana’s Bernice Enam Sefanu polled only 87 votes or 0.29%.