More 40 Lawyers walked out of the Buea Court of First Instance this Friday May 11, 2022 following a disagreement with the colleget bench of judges on the procedures of hearing a case involving three advocates and a then-pupil magistrate.
According to one of the lead counsels defending the three accused, Barrister Evine Nyonbanya, the first provocation was the terms used in the summons to his colleagues. To him, the use of the term ‘persecution’ in summoning the three accused, instead of prosecution, was in gross violations of the natural lawyers of Cameroon and international laws which prohibits persecuting someone in a court of law.
He went further to add that “we also left the court because they accuse two of our colleagues of hate speech on an accident that happened long before the law of hate speech was promulgated.”
The Communications Officer for the Lawyers, Barrister Ewule Edward, went further to indicate that the sitting Judge, Justice Mengalle Vivian, had already listened to the matter in her chambers and acted as an arbitrator. So the defending lawyers requested that the said Magistrate recuse herself from the colleget bench considering that she already had privileged information on the matter. Their request was turned down by Justice Mengalle.
Though the matter was adjourned to June 21, the lawyers are seeking alternative options to have their voices heard and the due processes followed.
Crux of the Matter
It should recalled that in 2019, a misunderstanding between three lawyers and a then-pupil magistrate over a seat in court, led to this imbroglio.
As the story goes, Senior Barrister Tchana Anthony requested for a seat from four pupil lawyers who at the time where enrolled at the common law section of Enam. Their refusal caused some bitter exchange which later led to an alleged pulling of one of the seats, leading to a pupil magistrate falling. Barrister Tchana is now being sued for Assault.
Two other lawyers, Barristers John Kameni and Nicholas Ogbe Keme, are tried for Hate Speech, after the questioned why a student magistrate studying common law at Enam, will disrespect a Common Law Counsel, understanding all the hierarchical procedures in common law.
The matter which was initially settled in the Chambers of the President of First Instance Buea, with further pleas from the former President of the Cameroon Bar council (Batonnier) Late Tchakonte parte chalse , the former President of Fako lawyers Association Barrister Enow Benjamin, to the Procureur General of the Southwest Court of Appeal for an amicable settlement, was resurrected much recently with a new twist allegedly aimed at detaining the three accused.
Fako Lawyers are resolute now more than ever, never to see that happen.
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