Court Rules For EC Boss & Lawyer
An Accra High court has dismissed the application challenging the legitimacy of lawyer Thaddeus Sory to represent both the Electoral Commission (EC) and its Chairperson, Charlotte Osei.
The court, presided over by Justice Kwaku Ackaah-Boafo. said the application as filed was misconceived because the substantive case before the court is between Charlotte Osei and Opoku Agyemang.
He said the instant application is rather between Opoku Agyeman and Sory as a lawyer adding that that someone could not be made part of a suit in an interlocutory application if that person is not party to the original suit.
Justice Ackaah-Boafo stated that any litigant who wants to make someone party to a suit must do so through a court order.
Touching on the merits of the issue of conflict of interest, the judge argued that conflict of interest could only be established when there is proof that the lawyer cannot protect confidential information.
In the view of the court, the case is not between EC and Charlotte Osei. Moreover, the Commission is also not party to the case involving the petitioners asking for the removal of the Chairperson of the EC.
Justice Ackaah-Boafo held that even if there was an issue of conflict of interest, it ought to have been raised by the Commission and not Maxwell Opoku Agyemang.
As a result, the judge dismissed the application and awarded an amount of GHC 5,000 cost against Opoku Agyemang.
Charlotte had dragged Opoku Agyemang before the court for defamation.
Opoku Agyemang also in turn sued the EC boss over her choice of lawyer.
In moving the motion last week, Julius Opoku Agyei, lawyer for Opoku Agyemang said the EC boss’ response to the media made Mr. Opoku Agyemang the subject of her petition.
He stated that the court could not say Charlotte had been defamed without looking at the petition.
Opoku Agyei noted that Mr. Sory cannot conduct the case without compromising himself, Charlotte and the Commission.
According to him, EC is a client of Sory @ Law, Mr. Sory’s law firm indicating that the lawyer had put himself in a conflict of interest position.
Opposing the motion, Sory said the motion before the court was procedurally incompetent.
He said the application on all its legs lacks merit adding that it was important for anybody approaching the court to inform it of the rules on which his application was founded.
Sory argued that there was no law stating that a lawyer could be sued for conflict of interest.
He said among other things that the issue of conflict of interest does not arise because the Commission is not party to the instant case.
Sory, while urging the court to dismiss the application said the facts of the applicant does not justify his conclusion.
Charlotte on July 25, 2017, sued Mr Opoku- Agyemang, the lawyer for petitioners who are calling for her impeachment for defamation.
She is pleading with the court to direct Mr. Opoku-Agyemang “to publish a retraction and an apology with the same prominence as the defamatory words on his Facebook page, as well as one publication in the Daily Graphic’.
“An injunction restraining the defendant, whether by himself, his servants or agents or otherwise, from authorising permitting and/or causing to be published the same or similar words by Charlotte.
She is further urging the court to award costs, including legal fees, against Mr. Opoku- Agyemang.
The EC Chair is also praying the court to award general and aggravated damages against Mr. Opoku-Agyemang for publishing spurious and defamatory statements against her and following up to defend those words in the traditional and social media.
Affidavit In Support
An affidavit in support of the motion on notice deposed to by Mr. Opoku-Agyemang said it was clear the petition was filed by staff of the EC and for that reason he could not be held for defamation.
It said the suit was initiated by Charlotte in her personal capacity and not on behalf of the EC.
The affidavit in support further noted that Mr. Sory and his law firm, Sory@Law, were not competent to issue the writ of summons and the statement of claim as lawyer for Charlotte because they were conflicted.
“That Sory@Law is the law firm retained by the commission and Thaddeus Sory is the sole owner and head of chambers of Sory@Law,” the affidavit in support submitted.
Source: Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson/ thePublisher