There was high drama in court on Thursday morning as an Accra Circuit Court threw out a law suit filed against Television Sports Presenter Erasmus Kwaw after the Plaintiff in the case withdrew the ¢8,500 suit having failed to provide evidence of payments made to him by the defendant.
In his writ of summons, the Plaintiff, – Simon Animley, a lawyer with Awoonor Law Consultancy- had claimed the Defendant had failed to pay for his legal services amounting to ¢8,500 after the Defendant had severed their relationship in July, 2018, in a case of unlawful termination of appointment filed against the Ghana Olympic Committee at the High Court in January, 2018.
But the Defendant told the court during the Case Management Conference on Wednesday, 31st July and Thursday, 1st August that the Plaintiff had rather failed to provide receipts of payments he had also made to him for filings fees and other costs during their legal pursuit.
The banter generated drama in Court 4 as the two sides argued their cases. Despite insisting he had provided the said receipts as exhibits, the court found out the receipts provided by the Plaintiff were indeed those from the Accra High Court and not receipts issued to the Defendant.
The Defendant subsequently insisted he was not amenable to settling the matter at Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as the process could unduly waste his precious time. Prevailed upon by other lawyers in the court room, the Plaintiff withdrew the case, before the Judge struck it from the books.
According to the Legal Profession Rules, “every lawyer shall give a receipt for each and every payment made to him, and shall specify therein the purpose for which such payment was made.”
In addition, the Plaintiff was required to have served a bill of payment which detailed monies received and monies paid on the defendant a month before commencing the law suit.
It appears the relationship between the two parties became sour because of a break down in trust. In court papers available to this reporter, the Defendant said, “the Plaintiff was not working in his interest as he had deliberately misled him about the dates and times for court; had also told him his presence in court was not needed; had tried to deny him legal representation in court, among other things.”
Mr. Kwaw stated he strangely encountered strong resistance from the Plaintiff when he asked him to include a paragraph in his witness statement which said “the Ghana Olympic Committee had terminated his appointment to enable them perpetrate an illegality in the media accreditation process for the 2018 Commonwealth Games which subsequently resulted in the infamous deportation of some 60 fake Ghanaian journalists.”
The court heard that Mr. Kwaw contracted Mr. Animley to assist him retrieve his entitlement from the Ghana Olympic Committee after the latter had summarily dismissed him as its Project Officer in August, 2017.
The two parties struck an agreement where the Plaintiff was entitled to 20% of all proceeds that may arise from the legal pursuit while the Defendant was required to pay filing fees and other costs.
The relationship between the pair grew sour as the defendant accused the plaintiff of deliberately misleading him about the time and date for court sittings on two different occasions in June and July, 2018.
However, the Plaintiff claims in his statement to the General Legal Council he had already told the defendant his presence in court was not needed. The Defendant countered by stating he had also told the plaintiff he wanted to be present at every sitting and had been present in court at all previous sittings.
In a startling allegation, the Defendant claims “the plaintiff made a surprise appearance at the High Court on 26th June to fulfill his long time agenda of trying to deny him legal representation by accosting his new lawyer in a banter that might have lasted between 10 to 15 minutes. He stated that among other things, the Plaintiff accused him of being ungrateful and was trying to destroy his career by dragging him to the General Legal Council.”
After the plaintiff failed to hand back his brief, the Defendant said he first reported the matter to the Disciplinary Committee of the Ghana Legal Council (GLC) on 30th July, 2018 where the matter is still pending.
After accessing documents tended in by the Plaintiff at the GLC, the Defendant further accused the Plaintiff of filing a REPLY to the Statement of Defence by the Defendant’s in his substantive case at the Accra High Court Labour division without his notice.
Meanwhile, the substantive case at the High Court is set for trial on 23rd October, 2019 while the GLC is set to sit on Mr. Kwaw’s complaint to it on a date also in October, 2019.