The Centre for Victims of Injustice (CenVI) has petitioned the General Legal Council (GLC) to withdraw the three-year suspension slapped on private lawyer Fancis-Xavier Sosu.
The GLS suspended Mr Sosu for what it described as violation of advertisement and for charging excessive legal fees.
CenVI said in a statement that it does “not support any act by lawyers in breach of the professional code of ethics by the General Legal Council, the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), or anybody that lawyers subscribe to” and further registered its “dissatisfaction on the decision reached by the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council with a three-year ban on lawyer Sosu from practising as a lawyer”.
Below is the full petition:
PETITION FOR REVERSE OF 3-YEAR BAN FROM LEGAL PRACTICE AGAINST LAWYER FRANCIS-XAVIER KOJO SOSU BY THE DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL LEGAL COUNCIL, GHANA.
This petition is to repeal “The 3-year ban against lawyer Francis -Xavier Kojo Sosu,” by the Disciplinary Committee of General Legal Council (GLC), as part of its disciplinary measure to check lawyers of the Ghana Bar Association from professional and ethical misconduct contrary to its prescribed Code of Ethics and Conducts.
The Centre for Victims of Injustice, Ghana CenVI,GH) is an independent, nongovernmental, nonpolitical and non-profit making organization dedicated to the protection and advancement of human rights and the promotion of justice as a democratic culture in Ghana.
We wish to state however that we do not support any act by lawyers in breach of the professional Code of Ethics by the General Legal Council, the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) or anybody that lawyers subscribe to.
We however wish to register our dissatisfaction on the decision reached by the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council with a three-year ban on Lawyer Sosu from practicing as a lawyer.
You would recall that on the 1st day of June, 2017, the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council of Ghana, issued a statement of its verdict on Lawyer Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu on two charges of professional misconduct. He was charged for overcharging or estimation of a client and another for touting and personal advertisement. For the first charge, a ban of 1year and 3years for the second.
CenVI,Ghana has followed Lawyer Sosu’s selfless and dedicated services with spirited heart of fighting against injustice and violation of the fundamental human rights of member of the society, especially vulnerable and less privilege.
Notable success of his pro-bono legal services has seen many victims of injustice regained their freedom from wrongful detention and incarceration and as well got compensated.
Notable among living witnesses or beneficials to his free legal services to victims of injustice includes, Francis Agyare, the said complainant to the GLC, the victim in the Dr. Ali Gabas case, Felix Nyaaba, the Executive Director, CenVI,Ghana, Charles Antwi, the presidential “assassin”, and most recently represented Eric Asante at the Supreme Court to secure acquittal and discharged after 15 years of wrongful conviction to prison.
Mr Sosu is also the lawyer protecting the interest of the Mawako “pepper” victim and over the years represented several hundreds of remand prisoners through the Justice For All program launched by, Her Ladyship Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, the immediate past Chief Justice of Ghana.
Lawyer Sosu, per our findings charged NO fees for all the above mentioned cases and many more cases that he continues to pursue till the time of the revoking of his licenses as a lawyer at the Bar.
However the case of Agyare raises soo much suspicions that go to defeat the cause of justice. In Agyare’s own confession on Joy99.7 fm, he said he had wanted to withdraw the complaint after he received his compensation, a service provided under an agreement but the General Legal Council “convinced” him against by threatening his arrest and subsequent charge.
Charges Against Lawyer Sosu
On the offence of overcharging legal fee, we have heard several commentaries and heard Mr. Agyare grant interviews in which he has publicly admitted that he agreed to pay 25% fees.
Having carefully read the accounts by Mr. Francis Agyare and heard him on the Joy99.7 Fm Super morning show, on Thursday, June 8, 2017, we are convinced that no complaints of overcharging was ever made by Mr. Agyare to the GLC against Lawyer Sosu and wondering where that could have emanated from.
To think of the fact that Mr. Agyare’s Petition was first filed in November, 2014 before he was paid his compensation in 2015 and on his own volition without any compulsion went ahead to pay Lawyer Sosu’s firm in accordance with their agreement, it shocks our sense of fairness and justice that Lawyer Sosu would be punished for overestimation of fees. Our frantic search has not revealed any law in the Council’s Professional Regulations making over charging or estimation a grave professional misconduct and with a prescribed sanction.
It is therefore very strange for the Council to ban Mr. Sosu on grounds of overestimation of legal fees for 1 year.
We have also noted with great concerns that there is no identifiable complainant who has filed a complaint against Lawyer Sosu at the General Legal Council on the second charge of touting and personal advertisement. It is therefore very surprising how GLC can be its own complainant and constitute it’s self as judges in the same case which led to Mr. Sosu’s ban for 3-years.
We cannot possibly suggest any possible reason(s) on this touting and advertising charged offence and therefore could not possibly conclude on the motive of the Disciplinary Committee of GLC in this direction.
However, for the purpose of this petition, we suggest that a google search of names like Sam Okudzeto &Associate, an internationally acknowledged legal firm whose Managing Founder is a senior lawyer, a member of Council of State and a member of the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council will only smack a feeling of the wrong application of the law and of selective justice. Evidence abound in this regard.
We therefore file this petition on the grounds that:
1. The charges against Lawyer Sosu of F-X Law &Associate by the GLC is very selective, ill-motivated and an affront to natural justice and fairness and equity.
2. The Decision reached by the GLC to charge Lawyer Sosu on the above stated offence in the GLC statement is oppressive and gagging.
3. The Decision reached by the Disciplinary Committee with a 3-year ban against Mr Sosu, is harsh as a first time offender.
Generally, CenVI see this 3-year ban as a total violation of the fundamental human rights of Mr. Sosu, contrary to Article 21 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
Our petition is premised on the following considerations;
1. This decision will deny justice to several vulnerable people that lawyer Sosu is currently representing against the State on violation of fundamental human rights, including unlawful arrest and detention, domestic violence and victims of abuses, miscarriage of justice or natural injustice, unfair treatment by spouse and other human rights abuses across the length and breadth of the country.
2. The decision by the GLC Disciplinary Committee will invariably deprive Lawyer Sosu, the right to means of livelihood and of economy.
3. Dependants of Mr Sosu will face further undue hardship, be it his immediate family, parents, siblings and other members of the society who depend on him for their means of survival.
For the purpose of rule of law and public interest, we hereby petition that:
1. Your high office immediately intervene and appeal to the Disciplinary Committee of GLC to invoke its original jurisdiction and reverse its decision on Lawyer Francis Xavier Sosu, dated the 1st day of June,2017, as the ban has no discernible benefit to the vulnerable in society.
2. The Disciplinary Committee should exercises its original power of clemency on Lawyer Sosu especially because of its ability to perpetrate injustice.
Once again, CenVI, Ghana, expresses great concern that the rights of potential beneficiaries of Mr Sosu’s pro-bono legal services, especially those who are being held up in prisons and other remand centres across the country unlawfully may not receive timely justice.
It is undeniable fact that Mr Sosu is not the only human rights lawyer, but to us his services to the nation remained tremendous and beneficial to the society.
Therefore, we reiterate our humble call through this petition to intervene for repeal of the decision by the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council of Ghana against Mr Francis Sosu.
Thank you in anticipation of your most needed intervention.
Felix Engsalige Nyaaba
(Executive Director, CenVI,GH)
1. Office of the President, FSH,Kanda
2. The Acting Chief Justice, Supreme Court Building, Accra
3. Ghana Bar Association-GBA, Accra
4. Human Rights Desk, UNDP, GH
5. Human Rights Advocacy Centre, Accra
6. Amnesty International, GH
7. Centre for Human Rights and Democracy Africa.