“This is a court of record... do not allow the use of the rules as a subterfuge for the evasion of justice” - Kulendi @ Law “ My Lord , he should watch his language...”
A filled-to-overflowing commercial court yesterday beheld in stunned bewilderment as two lawyers went at each other in full modulated fashion.
They were battling at the behest of their respective clients, who were physically absent, over a multi-trillion-cedi issue of whether the court should throw out a writ because it sinned against the rules of the court.
It was the counsel for the defendants, Mr. Benson Nutsukpi, who first lunged with his sword, prefacing it with the mandatory announcement of the outstanding team of heavyweight and very senior lawyers he was with – Messrs Nutifafa Kuenyehia himself,Willie Fugar, Nutifafa Nutsukpi, Kimati Kuenyehia.
Given twenty minutes to expatiate on his submissions, which he had already made in affidavits deposited with the judge, Benson went through nearly thirty minutes after the judge allotted twenty, emphasizing why the writ filed by Mr. Richmond Aggrey against Investcom, Scancom and Grand View should not be entertained because it offended the procedures outlined in rules established by the court.
“My lord, this is not one of those situations where the failures can be cured,” he argued, asserting that it was an irredeemable, fatal and incurable failure, which can only be addressed by an outright dismissal.
Demonstrating that he had actually fully read the affidavits of both parties by the manner he compered the legal dueling, the judge entertained a fresh entrant to the case, representing Investcom consortium, the very senior Willie Fugar (accompanied by senior lawyers from his chambers) who told the judge that he identified with the arguments so eloquently made by Mr. Benson Nutsukpui that the court dismiss the writ on the same grounds of procedure.
That was when the battle was joined. Mr. Kulendi, who had earlier tried to object to the manner of entry of Fugar into the fray but was overruled by the judge, broke loose and drew his 'excalibur' from its scabbard, spattering blood all over the Daikin air-conditioned court room.
Without deference to anyone, in particularly adversarial flight, Counsel with arms flailing in battle and his juniors turning over volumes of references that may well be legal shields for his easier navigation, Yonni roared against the way Mr. Fugar entered the conflict, saying he should have gone through the correct procedure instead of “contaminating himself with this application”.
“There is no room for his gratitude; the only gratitude he can show is to just sit down and keep his mouth shut instead of attempting to make an oral application…”.
He demanded more time to deal with the other respondents to the writ whom he thought may be allowed at least 20 minutes apiece.
From them jaws dropped, tension rose and fell within the ring side as the court, fully jammed with dark suited men and a smattering of reporters, was turned to a bloody slugfest with Kulendi swinging away with his sword, feinting this way and that, and ending with a flourish.
Imploring the judge to decline the application to set aside, the ringmeister urged his Lordship not to “allow the use of the rules as a subterfuge for the evasion of justice”.
This was too much for Benson who, having patiently endured Kulendi's offensive, got up to plead with the judge to restrain the raging matador. The judge made a momentary gesture, suggesting that the language used was not particularly unusual for the aggressive format allowed in courtroom combat.
When he resumed, Yonni had not contained his rampaging spirit: “This is not your cry,” he told Benson. “Are you not in the jurisdiction; have you not been served?”
As a parting shot, Kulendi noted that in the unlikely event that the Judge may be persuaded by the argument of Benson and his team, the defence and processes served by the lawyers had completely compromised their application and therefore waived their rights.
He noted that the new rules were forward-looking and was rooted in the thinking of the future.
“Let the men of the past stay in the past,” he noted before taking his bow, and insisting that it was more important for the parties to deal with the real substantive issues in the case.
It was enough. The judge did not allow Benson, who shot up to his feet, to make any more arguments as Benson conceded he was going to make points that were already in his affidavits.
The judge extended the injunction granted by the last judge to October 20th.