TO HELP PREEMPT SUBVERSION OF JUSTICE
His Lordship the Chief Justice has been petitioned in a case in which the High Court judge at Nkwakwa, Justice Kwaku Adu Gyamfi has sued the owner of a motorbike for having wrongfully parked his bike.
In what is being seen by legal experts as a test case in motor-traffic laws and regulations, the Nkwakwa High Court Judge, Justice Kwaku Adu Gyamfi has instituted a five million cedis lawsuit against the owner of a stationary motorbike whose handlebar scratched his car while he was reversing his car.
Narrating the circumstances leading to his instituting legal action against the owner of the motorbike, Justice Adu Gyamfi, in a telephone interview told The Lens that at about 3pm on 31st January 2005 he arrived at the premises of the Nkwakwa Branch of the Agricultural Development Bank to transact some personal business.
He parked his car and went out to the policeman on guard-duty at the Bank to make some enquiries. He was then informed that since the Bank closes at 2.pm it was too late for him to go in for any transactions.
Justice Adu Gyamfi said he returned to his car "in less than two minutes", and as he was about to reverse his car he realised that a motorbike was parked behind him in such a manner that "the handlebar was in my reverse lane".
"There were other cars parked there leaving no room for any form of manoeuvre and the only thing to do was to reverse. As I reversed the handlebar scratched my vehicle," he told The Lens.
Confirming that such an incident took place, the owner of the motorbike, Samuel Kissi, told The Lens that he was in the banking hall of the ADB transacting his business on that fateful day when his attention was called to the fact that the handlebar of his motorbike had scratched a reversing car.
"I rushed outside and met the owner of the vehicle, who I later got to know is the High Court judge at Nkwakwa, and even though I knew I was not responsible for the scratch on his vehicle, I commiserated with him because he appeared disturbed over the incidence," Mr. Kissi narrated to The Lens.
Narrating the case further, Mr. Kissi said: "The judge was to all intents and purposes blaming me even though it was his own lack of attention that caused the problem. In the end he reported the matter to the Nkwakwa MTTU. But even before the police had completed their investigations, I received formal notice that Justice Adu Gyamfi had instituted a lawsuit against me at the Magistrate Court at Nkwakwa."
Police sources at the Nkwakwa Police have confirmed the incident and have expressed surprise at the turn of events, particularly as the case was still under investigation. They would however not go on record about the facts because "the Judge has taken the matter to court," as one highly placed Police Officer told The Lens.
Mr. Samuel Kissi's petition to the Chief Justice, The Lens has learnt, was borne out of fears that since the plaintiff in the suit is the High Court Judge, the Magistrate court may not give the defendant a fair hearing, not necessarily because the Magistrate court is biased against the defendant but because the Magistrate court might feel pressurised into succumbing to the arguments of a very senior judge, which might occasion a miscarriage of justice.
Meanwhile Justice Adu Gyamfi explained to The Lens that it is possible that there would be a review in the five million cedis.
He said, "I sent the vehicle to Prestige, the local dealers, and they gave me an estimate of about three million cedis for spraying just the localised area where the scratches are. However they also told me that if they spray just the localised area there still would be a faint distinction between the existing paint and the new paint. They gave me the option of having the whole car re-sprayed, which I'm told would cost in excess of twenty-million cedis."