My lord, I don't want to die
Emotions were stirred up at the Kumasi High Court on Friday, when an 80-year-old plaintiff in a civil suit that has dragged on for 13 years, boldly obliged the presiding judge to adjudicate the case before his death.
“My Lord, I was 67 years old when I filed the suit on February 4, 1992, and now I am over 80 years old, but the case has not been given any serious hearing.
“I have a strong belief that the case is deliberately being dragged on for me to die since ... I am advanced in age, in order for my opponent to own the house”, Mr Alexander Okyere-Buo, the plaintiff, who is contesting the sale of his house at Yenyawoso, a Kumasi suburb, told the court almost in tears.
Making the appeal when the case was called at the court, presided over by Mr Justice Kpentey, the plaintiff, who is a businessman, pointed out that any delay in the adjudication of the case would deny him requisite justice.
He, therefore, appealed to the judge to use his good offices to expedite action for speedy adjudication of the case.
“I have kept quiet for the past 15 years because I have respect for the judicial system, but I also have my reservations”, he said.
“My Lord, the suit has been pending for the past 15 years and my client is always complaining that there seems to be a conspiracy not to give a definite hearing of the motion.
“My client thinks that there is a network that has been put in place to prevent the case from being heard,” the counsel said.
This was after the counsel for the fourth respondent, Mr Nsiah Asare, had told the court that his client was absent in court because she had not been served with the motion pending before the court.
Mr. Nsiah Asare argued that his client was not aware of the pending motion because there was a communication gap between them and therefore, appealed to the presiding judge to direct the bailiff to serve the motion personally to his client, Afua Badu, to enable her to appear before the court on the next adjourned date.
In response, Justice Kpentey expressed sympathy to the plaintiff and other litigants whose cases had been delayed for many years and said it was not deliberate.
“This is not the best, but it has never been the making of the courts to delay cases unduly. It is the desire of the courts to dispose of cases as quickly as possible, but we are not able to do so because the cases pending before the courts are more than what the judges could cope with,” he said.
He said besides this, the judges also had to follow court regulations to ensure that the right thing was done.
“There are rules that we have to follow and naturally we have to give hearing to all parties to avoid a situation where decisions may be overruled by a superior court when this happens it will also delay the case,” he said.
Justice Kpentey, therefore, urged the plaintiff to bear with the court.
He adjourned the case to July 11, 2005 and directed that the fourth respondent be personally served with the motion for her to appear in court.
According to the plaintiff the auction sale conducted on the house on January 31, 1992, was done on the grounds of irregularity while the plaintiff's personal belongings, including an Opel Record saloon car, were still in the house.
The plaintiff is seeking an order from the court to compel defendant Afua Badu to retrospectively pay rent from 1992 to date when she occupied house number 20 Block 3, at Yenyawoso, a Kumasi suburb.