Anas Sued Over Mask

Lawyer for Gabriel Achana, a staff of the Judicial Service indicted in the judicial bribery scandal, has sued undercover journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas over the mask he uses to cover his face.

The suit filed at the Human Rights Division of the high court in Accra cited the Judicial Council, Judicial Council Disciplinary Committee, Tiger Eye PI, Messrs Erskine and Yankey – both staff of Tiger Eye PI, Anas’ investigative company – and the Attorney General as defendants.

Egbert Faibille Jnr, lawyer for Achana who endorsed the suit, is asking the court to compel Anas to unmask to enable his client cross-examine him.

Walk Out
Last week, Mr Faibille Jnr walked out of the sitting of the committee investigating the judicial bribery scandal after a botched attempt to persuade the committee to ask the investigative journalist to remove his mask.

He was reported to have asked the two other hooded men who usually accompanied Anas to the committee to go out leaving the ‘real Anas’ behind.

But the committee held that the two other hooded men were also representatives of Tiger Eye PI and could not excuse the committee in that regard.

However, the lawyer, unsatisfied with the ruling of the committee, proceeded to the high court to argue that his client’s fundamental human rights had been breached.

Statement Of Claim
In the statement of claim, the plaintiff, aside cost and general damages, wants the court to declare that the protection given whistleblowers pursuant to Section 12 and 17 of Act 720 does not entitle Anas, Erskine and Yankey to appear before the disciplinary committee veiled such that the plaintiff cannot see their faces during their testimonies against them.

Achana stated that Anas had appeared as prosecution witness in two separate trials before courts of competent jurisdiction where he had not hooded or veiled but that the judges in those cases cleared the courts of members of the public and also lawyers who were not connected to the cases.

He contends that Anas, in the said cases, entered the court room to testify and he was cross-examined and that since the committee was sitting in camera, same should be done for a fair hearing.

Faceless Voices
Mr Faibille Jnr explained that it is only the voice of the person who recorded his client  that was heard on the video, which development he claims makes it impossible for the plaintiff to recognise whoever undertook the recording; thereby putting him at a disadvantage in cross-examining his accuser(s).

He said that whoever it was who engaged his client in conversations and ended up recording him (Achana) was not hooded, from his recollection, such that it is only just, equitable and fair that whoever did the recording should appear before the committee without any covering on his/her face to enable him identify that person for purposes of authenticity of the video recording and cross-examination by the plaintiff.

According to the plaintiff’s lawyer, the ruling of the committee acting as an agent of the Judicial Council in respect of the preliminary objection raised by the plaintiff before it was an infringement of his fundamental human rights pursuant to Article 33(5) of the 1992 Constitution.

Mr Faibille Jnr noted that pursuant to Article 17 of the 1992 Constitution, which provides that all persons shall be equal before the law, further to which no person shall be discriminated against on stated grounds, the Disciplinary Committee, acting as an agent of the Judicial Council, was discriminatory in ruling that Anas, Erskine and Yankey should appear before it hooded.

‘Plaintiff also maintains that the Disciplinary Committee acting as an agent of the Judicial Council has violated Article 23 of the 1992 Constitution which requires administrative bodies and their officials to act fairly and reasonably,’ he argued.

As a result, the plaintiff wants the court to
declare that the Disciplinary Committee, acting as agent of the Judicial Council, has by its ruling dated October 2015, violated the duty imposed by Article 296(a) and (b) of the 1992 Constitution on it to be fair, candid and act without prejudice.

The plaintiff also requests an order setting aside the said ruling of the Committee, adding that it infringed on his fundamental human rights.

Achana is also seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Judicial Council and the Committee, their agents, hirelings, officials, servants, underlings and/or any person claiming under or through them from allowing the said persons to appear before the committee hooded.

By Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson
[email protected]

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