The trial of former COCOBOD Chief Executive, Stephen Kwabena Opuni, continues to take different twists and turns as his lawyers have commenced a new move aimed at removing Justice Jones Dotse from the panel.
Mr. Opuni’s lawyers earlier secured a 3-2 majority Supreme Court ruling axing Justice Clemence Honyenuga as presiding judge.
The Attorney General, Godfred Dame, however, almost immediately filed for a review of that ruling.
But just as the review application was to be heard, lawyers for Dr. Opuni filed for Justice Dotse, President of the panel, to recuse himself. They cited a meeting that was held between the Attorney-General and Justice Jones Dotse acting as Chief Justice as the basis for the application.
Lead Counsel for Dr. Opuni, Samuel Cudjoe, argued before the Supreme Court on Tuesday that “It is possible they did not discuss anything about the case, however for the citizenry to have confidence in the judicial system he (Justice Dotse) should recuse himself.”
Relying on a paper delivered by the legal luminary in June 2010 on dealing with bias in the exercise of judicial power, Mr. Samuel Cudjoe reiterated that it wasn’t their position that the two high-ranking officers should not meet on other matters, but that the circumstances of the meeting could make the citizenry waver in their trust in the system.
Deputy Attorney General, Alfred Yeboa-Tua, argued that the application was simply in bad faith and only meant to muddy the waters.
He said the meeting complained about was held in the official office of then acting chief justice in broad daylight at 11:00 am, and argued that the applicants had failed to demonstrate either a real likelihood of bias or actual bias that may be occasioned with the inclusion of Justice Dotse on the panel.
The Court in agreeing with this position refused the application for Justice Dotse to recuse himself.
President of the Court, Justice Amadu Tanko, said the Court was not furnished with any evidence that questioned Justice Jones Dotse’s impartiality in the matter.
Earlier, Dr. Opuni’s lawyers successfully opposed what they described as Godfred Yeboah Dame’s attempts to act as a lawyer and a witness in the same matter.
The Court had agreed with them and held that, for expediency, the Deputy Attorney General took over the argument in the recusal hearings.