Supreme Court adjourns anti-LGBTQI bill case indefinitely, orders Speaker Bagbin's team to submit new documents

  Wed, 08 May 2024
Headlines Supreme Court adjourns anti-LGBTQI bill case indefinitely, orders Speaker Bagbin's team to submit new documents

The Supreme Court has indefinitely adjourned proceedings regarding the anti-LGBTQI bill, citing the presence of intemperate language in documents submitted by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin.

Consequently, the court has directed the Speaker's legal team to submit new documents.

Before the adjournment, the court dismissed a preliminary objection raised by Thaddeus Sory, the lawyer representing the Speaker of Parliament, in the case concerning the anti-LGBTQI bill.

During the televised court session, lawyers representing broadcast journalist Richard Sky, who initiated the case, sought to amend one of the reliefs in the motion for injunction. However, Thaddeus Sory objected, arguing that their earlier objections to the relief's formulation had been clearly stated in previously filed documents.

After deliberation, the Apex Court, chaired by Chief Justice Gertrude Torkoornoo, ruled that the preliminary objection was unnecessary. The Chief Justice emphasized that each party has the right to present their case as they see fit, and the objection was dismissed.

In response, the Chief Justice reprimanded the Speaker's legal team, stating, "You have wasted our time and energy for no reason.”

Broadcaster Richard Sky and Researcher Amanda Odoi filed separate suits against the bills endorsement by President Nana Akufo-Addo.

Mr Sky says Parliament’s passage of the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill is unconstitutional and praying the highest court to declare the bill null and void.

The broadcaster, who is also a lawyer, insists the bill violates provisions of the 1992 Constitution particularly Article 33(5) as well as Articles 12(1) and (2), 15(1), 17(1) and (2), 18(2), and 21(1) (a) (b) (d) and (e).

He contends that “the Speaker of Parliament contravened Article 108(a)(ii) of the Constitution, in light of Article 296(a)(b) and (c), by admitting and allowing Parliament to proceed upon and pass ‘The Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2024’ into law as the same imposes a charge upon the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Ghana.”

The other plaintiff, Dr Odoi, has also expressed reservations about some provisions of the new bill.

President Nana Akufo-Addo withheld his assent to the bill pending a determination by the Supreme Court.

Attorney General Godfred Dame wrote to the court to permit a live coverage of the hearing, which was granted.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Justice, the Attorney General said: "Respectfully, in view of the public interest in the cases concerning the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill 2024 (the Bill) I would like to recommend that the media (including radio and television) be given full access to the relevant courts to undertake a coverage of all proceedings in those cases concerning the Bill."

"The cases under reference are as follows: Supreme Court 1. Dr. Amanda Odoi v The Speaker of Parliament and Another (Suit No. J1/13/2023), and 2. Richard Dela Sky v The Parliament of Ghana and Another (Suit No. J1/9/2024)."

“High Court 1. Mr. Paul Boama-Sefa v The Speaker of Parliament and Another (Suit No. D45/SF.128/2023), and 2. Dr. Prince Obiri-Korang v The Attorney-General (Suit No. J1/18/2021)."

“It is my respectful view that the transparency to be engendered by a coverage of the proceedings".