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Lawyer Sosu’s Sanction ‘Harsh’ and not Proportionate to Misconduct – William Nyarko

Mr. William Nyarko, Executive Director, ACILA
Mr. William Nyarko, Executive Director of research and education think tank, Africa Centre for International Law and Accountability (ACILA) has described the four-year ban placed on Mr. Francis-Xavier Sosu by the General Legal Council of Ghana as harsh and not proportionate to the alleged misconduct.

He, however, added that although the sanction placed on the celebrated human rights lawyer is harsh, it also opens a window of opportunity for “change” urging the fast rising young lawyer to test the law by appealing the decision of the Council and taking it all the way to the Supreme Court of Ghana if needed.

“Harsh as the decision is, along with it not being proportionate to the alleged misconduct, it is also an opportunity for change—to test the law by appealing the decision and taking it all the way to the Supreme Court of Ghana, if necessary….”, Mr. Nyarko added.

ACILA is incorporated under US law as a 501(c) (3) research and education, non-partisan, and non-profit think tank and under Ghana law as a non-governmental organisation. Its focus areas are democratic governance, rule of law, international criminal justice, international human rights law, and monitoring African states’ compliance with regional and international instruments.

The famous lawyer was handed the ban over two issues, including allegedly overcharging a client which attracted a one-year ban and advertising cases he had won on social media, which also attracted a three-year ban by the General Legal Council (GLC). The Committee of the GLC was chaired by Justice Sophia Akufo (incoming Chief Justice of Ghana) last Thursday after it had found him guilty of an alleged professional misconduct contrary to the code regulating legal practice in the country.

Mr. Nyarko was reacting to the news of the ban on his facebook page:
Rights in peril and an opportunity for change: A rising human rights lawyer in Ghana, Francis Xavier Sosu, has his right to practice law in peril for four years: three years for advertising the name of his law firm and address on Facebook and one year for overcharging a client.

The decision by the General Legal Council, the body that regulates legal practice in Ghana, literally set social media and mainstream media ablaze with reactions.

Coincidentally, the man who has been defending the rights of others, mostly the indigent and vulnerable in society, has his rights in peril.

Harsh as the decision is, it is an opportunity for change—to test the law by appealing the decision and taking it all the way to the Supreme Court of Ghana, if necessary, in a similar manner that US Lawyers John R. Bates and Van O’Steen did when they appealed to the US Supreme Court following an up to a six-month ban imposed on them by the State Bar of Arizona for advertising a legal clinic that they were to hold.

The decision of the US Supreme Court that overturned an earlier decision by the Supreme Court of Arizona gave the US the landmark case Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977). See the case info for the case brief, holding etc http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/433/350.html)

Having a landmark case Sosu v. General Legal Council…. is an idea whose time has come. Sosu has stated that he will appeal the decision and we look forward to it.
#nyarkostake

Source: Awake News | Korsi Senyo | senyo@awakeafrica.com

About Efo Korsi Senyo

Efo Korsi Senyo has over 4 years experience working as investigative journalist with Awake Africa. He is the Head of Awake Investigates. Connect with him via senyo@awakeafrica.com or WhatsApp: +233249155003

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