A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court has in a 6-1 majority decision dismissed preliminary objections to its directive for substituted service of the processes and notice of hearing in the case challenging the continuous stay in office of Mr. James Gyakye Quayson as Assin North Member of Parliament.
The highest court of the land has therefore ordered James Quayson to respond and file his processes to an injunction application against him on or before Wednesday, March 16, 2022.
This follows objection raised by counsel of the embattled MP over the propriety of the Supreme Court orders for substituted service carried out in the Daily Graphic.
At the last sitting, the Supreme Court ordered substituted service of the processes on the embattled Member of Parliament, on whom the applicant had made several attempts to serve the processes with success.
The plaintiff was to post copies of the process on the notice boards of the Supreme Court and on the High Court in Assin Fosu.
In addition, he was also to cause a publication of same in the Daily Graphic Newspaper.
Tsatsu Tsikata, lawyer for the disputed Member of Parliament, however, argued in Court that two publications were caused in the “Daily Graphic” Newspaper but that the publications fell short of the orders of the Court.
He contended that the publications, made on February 26, and March 1, 2022, only contained the order for a substituted service, plus a hearing notice to the parties, but, without the processes to be responded to.
He also argued that the writ was not mature for hearing, since the hearing notice specifically stipulated a 7-day maturation period upon publication.
Admitting what he said was an inadvertent error in the first “Daily Graphic” publication of February 26, Frank Davis counsel for the plaintiff however told the Court that they did “exactly as the Court directed”.
He contended that “there were three other modes of substituted service” and that “the other modes of service have put him (the defendant) in notice enough for this hearing”.
The Court also found that Justine Teriwajah, on the record for Mr. Quayson, had previously written to the Court Registrar “upon execution of the substituted service” order seeking to be furnished with the processes. This request, the Registrar told the Court, had been duly met.
While the Attorney-General told the Court that Mr. Teriwajah’s letter which he “wrote in good faith settled the matter”, Mr. Tsikata insisted that “this is a situation of genuine confusion that has been created”.
President of the Court, Justice Victor Dotse JSC, in reading the decision of the Court, said “the essence of substituted service was to bring to the attention of a party of a pendency of a suit”; and, that in making its order for substituted service including a newspaper publication, “this Court does not expect all processes to be published”.
Also, holding that Justine Teriwajah’s letter to the Court Registrar “speaks for itself”, the Court dismissed the objection.
On the question of whether the writ had matured for hearing as per the hearing notice issued with the order for substituted service, the “Court in a majority decision of 6:1, with Kulendi JSC dissenting, holds that the 1st Defendant was duly served as at 28th February 2022.
The case has been adjourned to Wednesday, March 16, 2022.