A member of the legal team for the governing National Democratic Congress, Chris Akumey is pleading with the judges at the Supreme Court, to deal leniently with a remorseful Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, the New Patriotic Party’s General Secretary over his contemptuous comments.
According to Lawyer Chris Akumey, Mr. Owusu Afriyie, also known as “Sir John”, had been having sleepless nights ever since the Court first hinted in July this year that, it was going to deal with the NPP’s scribe over comments he made about president of the panel of judges, William Atuguba.
The panel of nine judges is hearing an election petition which involves petitioners and respondents arguing against the declaration of John Mahama as winner of presidential polls organized by the Electoral Commission in December 2012.
The course of the hearing has generated a lot of controversial and denigrating comments from the public, forcing the judges to give a final warning to punish anybody found to have made contemptuous statements.
It is after this “final touchline” warning that the NPP General Secretary on 25th June 2013 descended on Justice William Atuguba who is presiding judge of the panel and described him as a hypocrite, a voodoo deity and a joker.
This comment incurred the displeasure of the “awesome” judges to hint in court on July 8th 2013 that a contempt of court charge looms over Sir John. They promised to deal with the matter in due course.
Justice William Atuguba’s gavel has finally fallen on Sir John and a member of the party’s communications team, Hopeson Adorye.
They are to appear before the Court on August 14, 2013, to defend comments they made considered to scandalise the court and “lower its authority and credibility in the eyes of the general public”.
But speaking on News File Saturday, Lawyer Chris Akumey said Sir John, after realising the statement he made was ‘explosive’, had taken a back stage and lowered the tone of his language and that should be enough punishment.
A sympathetic Chris Ackumey referred to a local proverb that says: “when you go hunting and you meet an animal on its knees, you don’t shoot it”, implying that mercy be shown to a helpless man in danger.
The lawyer was joined in a chorus of sympathy by other panelists. Malik Kweku Baako, managing editor of the New Crusading Guide said he was surprised by the sudden revisiting of the case but added, perhaps the court did not want to leave the matter unresolved as the hearing comes to an end.
Gabby Otchere Darko, of the Danquah Institute noted that previous sentences have significantly checked improper comments made in the media especially comments from the general secretaries of NPP and NDC.
A former Chief of Staff under the governing NDC Nana Ato Dadzie added that he could see himself pleading in court on behalf of an apologetic Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie.
Two persons – NDC’s Stephen Atubiga and Ken Kuranchie, Daily Searchlight – were sentenced to three days and ten days respectively after making similar comments.
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