Justice Jones Victor Dotse's last sitting at the bench before his retirement was on a case that can be referred to as 'the Republic vrs High Court exparte Dorgadzi'' and his subsequent valedictory ruling on same has been criticized by sections of the public as ''a slur on Supreme Court''.
A panel of five Supreme Court justices chaired by Justice Jones Victor Dotse (now retired) in a detailed ruling on June 12, 2023, unanimously prohibited Justice Emmanuel Ankamah from further hearing of the case of the Estate of Rev. Emmanuel Dorgadzi at the Tema High Court.
Justice Dotse's panel described the conduct of the trial judge, Justice Emmanuel Ankamah as ''shameful'' and subsequently urged the Chief Justice to cause investigations into the apparent devise by the interested parties after quashing his orders.
''In our collective wisdom, we deem it appropriate to refer this case to the Chief Justice to cause further investigations into the conduct of the learned trial Judge and the then registrar of the High Court at Tema, under whose tenure the 'sordit' affairs occurred'' part of the thirty three page ruling documents stated.
The decision by Justice Jones Victor Dotse's panel to haul the trial High Court Justice before the Supreme Court for investigation has been described by many critics of the law as ''one that cast a slur on the Supreme Court's appreciation of its own decisions and long term established conventions.
To some of these critics, now that any judge's record books, things books, Microsoft teams, virtual hearing recordings and even the form and mode of making the entries in the books will be the subject matter of trials at the Supreme Court, one can only imagine the chilling flowing down the spine of their Worships, Honours, Ladyships and Lordships which will be detrimental in the course of our judicial system.
''We thought we had reached a stage in our national lives where judges could go to sleep, secure in the knowledge that their busts will not adorn the frontage of the Supreme Court building'' they stated.
A section of the critics raises issues on why Justice Dotse's panel did not grant the trial High Court Justice the opportunity to be heard which defies the fundamental natural justice of the trial High Court judge which enforces the convention that the control theme in the ruling was the need to uphold the tenets of natural justice, notably, the audi alteram partem rule that requires that, ''a person must be given a hearing before he or she is condemned''.
This section of the critics contends that the decision by Justice Dotse's panel to put the trial High Court Justice on ''trial'' at the Supreme Court and condemning him to global scorn and opprobium, without giving him an opportunity to be heard in his defence cast a slur on the Supreme Court's own appreciation of the audi alteram partem rule.
To us, the trial High Court judge was made ''the villain before the Sanhedrin'' on grounds that he had failed to observe the self-same audi alteram partem rule by failing to ensure that certain parties were notified before the court conducted its impugned business on the fateful 18th day of August, 2022.
In the coming days, the public will be taken through detailed analysis by critics of the Dotse's valedictory ruling as to why they described this ruling as ''a slur on Supreme Court ''.