Ghana: Anti-LGBTQ Lawsuits

Key Takeaways By Court:That the injunction case centers around violations of Article 108 of the Constitution. That the court is not the appropriate forum to deal with issues of possible human rights violations as the High Court has a dedicated court to handle such matters.

The Supreme Court has set July 17 to decide whether to grant a request for an injunction by the lawyers of Dr. Amada Odoi and Richard Dela Sky against Parliament – a ruling which will decide whether Parliament can transmit the anti-LGBTQ bill to the President for signing.

Dr. Odoi, a researcher at the University of Cape Coast, sued the Speaker over the passage of the bill, raising human rights issues. But then she additionally sought to halt the bill’s transmission to the president for signing, on grounds that it would cause a burden to the public purse.

On Wednesday, July 3, her lawyers argued before a five-member panel of justices, insisting that Parliament failed to carry out a financial impact analysis on the Consolidated Fund before it went ahead to pass the bill – an act they said was in violation of Article 108 of the 1992 Constitution, as Parliament was required to carry out that assessment.

“If the bill becomes law, the damage of the harm, the indignity that the constitution will suffer, can never be compensated,” Mr Ernest Arkoh, lead counsel for Dr. Odoi said, pointing to documents that the Speaker’s lawyers filed which did not include an actual impact analysis.

“It is our contention that clearly the physical impact analysis has not be adopted since on all these two occasions they purported to have attached a physical impact analysis, but it turns out that they have not done so.”

The Attorney-General, Godfred Dame who represented as the state lawyer seemed to agree on the arguments on the burden on the Consolidated Fund. Godfred Dame specifically said there was evidence that the Speaker failed to submit an impact analysis, as had been espoused by Amanda Odoi’s lawyers.

He supported his arguments, citing one particular situation of the president’s refusal to sign the anti-Witchcraft bill (a matter that generated outrage from Minority MPs) over similar concerns of no submission of an impact analysis on public funds.

“So clearly there was no basis for Parliament to proceed because there was a failure to satisfy the very important commission process of the Speaker or the person presiding presenting an analysis of the impact on the Consolidate Fund,” Dame said.

But the Speaker’s lawyer, Thaddeus Sory raised objections, saying Parliament has not yet completed its work as the bill has not been transmitted to the President for signing, and therefore the injunction is a nullity.

Richard Sky’s lawyers continued after more than two hours of oral arguments in the previous hearing in the Amanda Odoi case. They also made their arguments based on violations of Article 108, indicating they agreed with the submissions by the AG on the cause of burden to the public purse.

“Our concern is that going by Article 108 (a) (ii), which has already been alluded to before this court, there was a fundamental breach of the constitution in the Speakers admission of the bill in the first place.”

Key Takeaways By Court:

That the injunction case centers around violations of Article 108 of the Constitution.

That the court is not the appropriate forum to deal with issues of possible human rights violations as the High Court has a dedicated jurisdiction to handle such matters.