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HeadlineChief Justice has the right to make changes on Opuni’s appeal panel...

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Chief Justice has the right to make changes on Opuni’s appeal panel – AG

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Office of the Attorney-General (AG) and Ministry of Justice has refuted claims that the Chief Justice violated Article 157(3) of the 1992 Constitution in her alterations to the panel overseeing the appeal of former Chief Executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Dr. Stephen Kwabena Opuni.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, May 14, the AG’s office dismissed these reports as fabricated attempts to undermine confidence in the judiciary, emphasising the importance of rejecting such falsehoods.

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Citing a publication in the Herald newspaper and remarks made by legal practitioner Kweku Asare, the AG’s statement affirmed the Chief Justice’s authority to assemble a panel for any case within any court.

The AG clarified that the Chief Justice’s actions during Opuni’s May 8 appeal hearing were lawful and justified.

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“For the purpose of educating the public, the A-G states that no party to proceedings in court has a right to insist on a particular court or panel of a court to hear his or her case. In accordance with the Constitution and the Courts Act, 1993 (Act 459), the Chief Justice determines the composition of every court for the hearing of any matter.

“The Chief Justice is a member of every court in the country and has the power to request in writing a Justice of any of the Superior Courts of Judicature to sit on either the Court of Appeal or the High Court at any time.

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Further, consistent with article 128(3) of the Constitution, the Chief Justice presides at sittings of the Supreme Court, and in his absence, the most senior of the Justices of the Supreme Court, as constituted, shall preside.”

The statement added that it has learned with grave concern the attempts by some media houses aligned to Dr. Opuni and their attempts to distort proceedings and facts relating to the case

“The A-G notes the persistent attempts by some media houses aligned to Dr Opuni to distort the effect of court proceedings relating to the prosecution of the former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board.

These publications, many a time, are a gross misrepresentation of the evidence led at the trial, intended to ridicule the case of the prosecution and create false impressions about the soundness of the defence put up by Dr Opuni at his trial.

“The A-G observes that most of the publications on the “Opuni case,” orchestrated by the accused persons themselves, transgress the limits of permissible speech as they are calculated at perverting the course of justice and/or prejudicing the fair hearing of that case.

Nonetheless, the Republic remains focused against all the accused persons in the case mentioned above and will not be overawed in that process.”

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