Justice Paul Uuter Dery, one of the high court judges indicted in the Anas Aremeyaw Anas bribery and corruption scandal, has filed another suit at the Supreme Court seeking to prevent Justice Gertrude Torkornoo – a Court of Appeal judge – from hearing his case involving the ace investigative journalist and four others, on claims of bias.
Justice Dery in his latest suit cited the Registrar of the High Court Fast Track Division, Tiger Eye PI (Anas’ investigative company), the Chief Justice and the Attorney General as interested parties.
The judge, who has managed to stop the impeachment process being initiated against him in the interim in his determination to clear his name, is alleged to have exchanged justice with money, guinea fowls and goat.
Justice Dery wants the Supreme Court to disqualify Justice Torkornoo, who had been assigned to hear all cases related to the Anas corruption scandal, from sitting on his legal suits.
The statement of claim averred, “That this Honourable Court make an order prohibiting the trial court judge, Her Ladyship Justice Gertrude Torkonoo, from presiding over suit number AP 228/2015 and AP 232/2015.”
The writ, dated October 29, 2015, filed by Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo – lawyers for Justice Dery – claimed that Justice Torkornoo “exhibited bias or a real likelihood of bias when she dismissed” his contempt case against the undercover journalist and four others on September 29 this year without giving him a hearing.
The embattled judge, who was named among 22 high court judges caught on video allegedly taking bribes from litigants to influence judgements, went to the high court to stop Anas and the four others from publicly screening the said video on September 22 and 23.
He said notwithstanding the said applications for both interlocutory and perpetual injunction, Anas and his agents went ahead to publicly screen the video, prompting the contempt action against them.
But Justice Dery argued that Justice Torkornoo “breached the audi alteram partem [listen to the other side] principle of natural justice when she dismissed the contempt action suo moto [on her own].
Meanwhile, he has petitioned the Chief Justice on the matter and filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal against the dismissal of the contempt case, grounding it on claims that the judge erred when she heard the matter on September 29 instead of the scheduled date of October 12 without notifying him.
Justice Dery is already in the Supreme Court on his zeal to exonerate himself from the alleged bribery quagmire.
In that application, he is invoking the apex court to declare the processes and proceedings that have arisen out of the contents of the entire exposé by Anas Aremeyaw Anas and his team as having no legal basis.
Justice Dery, who has multiple lawsuits before the high court, is further praying for a perpetual injunction against any adjudicating body whatsoever from determining any issues arising out of Anas’ petition on the matter to President Mahama.
The application argues that the publication of Anas’ petition to President Mahama, the release of the contents of the video, plus subsequent steps by the Judicial Secretary, amounted to a violation of Article 146 (8) of the Constitution.
By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson