2 Individuals Drag Into courtroom docket heading MPs' immunity - Check Out Full Story Here

 2 Individuals Drag Into courtroom docket heading MPs' immunity - Check Out Full Story Here




Justice Anin Yeboah — Chief Justice (left), Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin — Speaker of Parliament (right)

The vexed problem of immunity granted to Members of Parliament (MPs) now no longer to seem in a courtroom docket while appearing their reputable capabilities has ended up on the Supreme Court.

Two people have invoked the unique jurisdiction of the apex courtroom docket to interpret the Constitution, with a case that an MP, the Clerk or Speaker of Parliament does now no longer have any immunity if she or he commits an offence “at the same time as he's on his manner to, attending at or coming back from any court cases of Parliament”.


The plaintiffs — Ms. Hilda Mansuwa Kpentey Dongotey and Mr. Albert Gyamfi, who've sued of their capability as Ghanaians — are asking the best courtroom docket of the land to interpret articles 117 and 118 of the 1992 Constitution, the 2 constitutional provisions which offer immunity for the Speaker of Parliament, MPs and the Clerk to Parliament.


Counsel for the plaintiffs is Mr. Samson Lardy Anyenini.


The writ is towards the backdrop of a standoff among the Ghana Police Service and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Madina, Mr. Francis Xavier Sosu, who has been charged with unlawfully blocking off a public street and destruction of public belongings all through an illustration through his components for higher roads.


What does the Constitution say?


Article 117 of the 1992 Constitution stipulates that no courtroom docket system, both crook or civil, “will be served on, or accomplished in relation to, the Speaker or member or the Clerk to Parliament at the same time as he's on his manner to, attending at or coming back from any court cases of Parliament”.


On the opposite hand, Article 118 (1) states that “neither the Speaker, nor a member, nor the Clerk to Parliament will be compelled, at the same time as attending Parliament, to seem as a witness in any courtroom docket or area out of Parliament’’, at the same time as Article 118 (2) gives that “the Certificate of the Speaker that a member or the Clerk is attending the court cases of Parliament is conclusive proof of attendance at Parliament”.


Reliefs


The plaintiffs are looking for a statement that the Constitution does now no longer shield an MP who commits a crime, whether or not or now no longer the crime changed into devoted through the MP in his or her line of duty, and, therefore, the police do now no longer want permission from the Speaker of Parliament to arrest such an MP.


Besides, they need a statement that any act through the Speaker asking the police to are seeking for permission from him earlier than arresting an MP accused of committing an offence is “null, void and of no effect”.


Also, they need a statement that the constitutional term “attending at or coming back from any court cases of Parliament” stipulated in Article 117 applies best to paintings in Parliament and now no longer while an MP is engaged in sports in a constituency.


Other reliefs being sought through the plaintiffs are a statement that upon a real and right creation of Article 117 of the 1992 Constitution, a Speaker of Parliament, Clerk or MP isn't always granted immunity from warrantless arrest, limit or detention at the same time as he's on his manner to, attending at or coming back from court cases of Parliament; a statement that upon a real and right creation of articles 117 and 118 of the Constitution, a courtroom docket system server does now no longer require a certificates from the Speaker to serve civil or crook system on an MP at the same time as he's engaged in sports in a constituency.


Francis Sosu’s case


Mr. Sosu has failed to expose up in courtroom docket on  occasions, with the excuse that he changed into on parliamentary duties.


That has been corroborated through a letter to the Kaneshie District Court from the Deputy Clerk to Parliament.


“Pursuant to Article 117 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic, I am not able to convey the carrier to the eye of the MP as requested,” the letter, dated November 10, 2021, indicated.


The Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has additionally damned the police for trying to arrest the MP with out due regard to the regulation, in particular articles 117 and 118 of the 1992 Constitution.


The stand-off has been exacerbated through Mr. Sosu suing the Ghana Police Service to forestall the crook court cases towards him, arguing that the case towards him changed into a contravention of his human rights.


In his affidavit in guide of the motion, Mr. Sosu averred that he had now no longer angry the regulation to warrant his arrest, and that previous to the stated demonstration, he had notified the police of the supposed protest and agreed with them that the demonstration be hung on October 25, 2021.


Mr. Sosu’s case has divided Parliament, with the Majority accusing the Speaker of protective the MP, at the same time as the Minority insists that the Speaker is following the regulation.


MPs’ immunity


There had been instances of MPs looking for immunity beneathneath articles 117 and 118 of the 1992 Constitution, which brought about severe public debates.


When the Cape Coast High Court located an injunction on Mr. James Gyakye Quayson, the NDC MP for Assin-North, till the very last dedication of a petition tough his eligibility, the MP went to Parliament to be sworn into office, arguing that the order of the courtroom docket changed into now no longer well served on him as envisaged beneathneath the Constitution.


Another case changed into that of the NDC MP for Bawku Central, Mr. Mahama Ayariga, who changed into on trial over alleged abuse of office. The case towards him has, however, been dropped.


It changed into a tribulation that generated a whole lot of public hobby because of the conflict among the Judiciary and the Legislature.


On the primary day of the hearing, Mr. Ayariga changed into ordered through the Presiding Judge, Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe, to seem and stand trial, after the courtroom docket had rejected a certificates through the then Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye, informing the courtroom docket to exempt the MP from the court cases.


Justice Asare-Botwe changed into of the view that Article 118 of the 1992 Constitution, which gives immunity for MPs, best covered MPs from being invited to seem earlier than a courtroom docket as witnesses and now no longer MPs status trial as accused persons.

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