UG files motion to have judge in Commonwealth Hall case removed over alleged bias

Radio Univers
Radio Univers
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The University of Ghana (UG) is seeking to remove the judge hearing the substantive case between it and some students of its all-male Commonwealth Hall.

The university’s management is requesting this decision due to Justice Francis Obiri’s alleged affinity with the Hall, which they believe suggests a real likelihood of bias.

According to a Motion Certiorari filed by Kwabena-Adusei on March 31, 2023, the judge’s ‘relationship’ with the hall and “his conduct of the case so far suggests a real likelihood of bias.”

It is claimed that Justice Obiri “was officially attached to Akuafo Hall as a resident during his undergraduate studies. This notwithstanding, he stayed in Commonwealth Hall throughout his undergraduate studies and was actively involved in vandalism and its ideologies.”

UG’s Pro Vice Chancellor, Prof Gordon Awandare, stated in a supporting affidavit that he is reliably informed that the judge during his student days “was officially attached to Akuafo Hall but was at all material times during his studentship in the University of Ghana, resident at Commonwealth definition a Vandal.”

Prof Awandare added that Justice Obiri was “the lead assistant of the then Chief Vandal, a very revered office of Vandals, by the alias Chief Korea.”

He believes that this situation has the propensity to affect the nature of the proceeding, for which reason he wants the Judge restrained from the case citing an instance from the February 9 hearing.

“The decision not to consider the Application for leave to cross-examine Lawrence Edinam Egleh, the deponent of the Affidavit in Support of the Application for Injunction before considering and
granting the application on the basis of the impugned affidavit,” portion of the document read.

“Moreso, when the Applicant had prayed the Court to abridge time or even take the application orally in keeping with the decisions of this Court. The Applicant did not have any other avenue to make the Application as the Application for injunction was not formally moved so that the Applicant would have made an application to cross-examine the deponent.“

This new development comes after an Accra High Court order back in January 2023 for the University of Ghana management to refrain from revoking the residential status of continuing students in both Commonwealth and Mensah Sarbah halls. This decision of the court was issued after some disgruntled students filed an interlocutory injunction on January 6, 2023.

However, this fresh motion is seeking to stay the interlocutory injunction over the new claims of potential bias.

The university’s administration issued an order intending to remove all continuing male students from the halls due to a violent altercation that had taken place between the two parties on August 15, 2022.

According to UG’s management, they chose to implement the directive as a disciplinary step after fights between certain students from the two halls destroyed John Mensah Sarbah’s statue, which was located at the Mensah Sarbah hall.

Per the administration’s announcement to the members of the university, starting from the 2022/23 academic year, “Level 100 and graduate students (Masters and PhD level) will be assigned to Mensah Sarbah and Commonwealth Halls.”

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