An Accra High Court has dismissed a preliminary objection raised by lawyers of the 14 judges and magistrates implicated in the judicial scandal over a motion filed by the State to struck out pleadings of the plaintiffs.
The 14 judges and magistrates were against the disciplinary committee set up by the Chief Justice.
The Court held that the State is justified to apply for the dismissal of the case.
The court presided over by Justice Gertrude Torkornu has therefore asked the counsels for the judges and magistrates to file an affidavits in opposition to struck out the pleadings by close of day, Friday September 25.
She also urged them to serve the state, represented by Mrs Hellen Ziwu, Acting Solicitor-General by Monday, September 28 for which, the state would move the motion on Tuesday, September 29 for the hearing of the matter
Meanwhile, the court has adjourned to September 29 and interlocutory injunction filed by the judges and the magistrates to enable their counsels to responds to affidavits in opposition filed by the state.
Mr John Ndebugri told the court that even though they were served on Friday morning, there were issues of facts raised by his clients, which needed consultation.
He said they, therefore, needed time to put their heads together to respond appropriately.
“We will file supplementary affidavits by close of today and come back by Monday to commence the hearing,” he added.
The interlocutory order of injunction filed earlier seeks to restrain the Judicial Council from continuing with the proceedings.
The plaintiffs said even though the 1992 Constitution empowered the Chief Justice and the Judicial Council to remove persons holding judicial offices on certain specific grounds, including misbehavior, such removal must be in accordance with due process.
It said each of them, being a pensionable officer, could not be removed from office as a result of summary proceedings without being convicted of the criminal acts alleged against them.
The plaintiffs said the law provided that disciplinary proceedings against judicial office holders be conducted by a single judge of the High Court or some other judicial officer appointed for that purpose by the Chief Justice.
They said the committee instituted by the Judicial Council to conduct disciplinary proceedings against them had no legal basis.
The plaintiffs explained that unless restrained by a court, the defendant’s illegal Disciplinary Committee would continue to conduct the illegal disciplinary proceedings against each of them, which were likely to lead to their removal from office under rather dubious and disturbing circumstances.
“That we have already suffered and continue to suffer grave hardship, loss and inconvenience as a result of illegal conduct of the defendant’s and its illegal committee,” the writ said.