After Sammy Okudzeto & Prof. Mike Ocquay’s pleas failed
A member of the legal team for the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), Chris Akumey has publicly pleaded with the Justices of the Supreme Court, hearing the election petition to deal leniently with a remorseful Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) General Secretary over his contemptuous comments.
According to Lawyer Chris Akumey, Mr. Owusu-Afriyie, known as “Sir John”, had been having sleepless nights ever since the Court first hinted in July that, it was going to deal with the NPP’s scribe over comments he made about the President of the panel of judges, William Atuguba.
The Herald is reliably informed that NPP bigwigs, such as Lawyers Sammy Okudzeto and Prof. Mike Ocquaye have desperately attempted to have the two forgiven, but the judges stood their ground.
The panel of nine judges hearing the election petition have summoned Mr. Owusu-Afriyie to appear before them on Wednesday. Sir John returned from abroad over the weekend.
Also appearing on that same day is a member of the NPP communication team, Hopeson Adorye, who appears not to have favour in the eyes of Mr. Chris Akumey. Mr. Akumey did not plead on his behalf.
Sir John, a lawyer, is alleged to have accused the Bench of being biased, while, Mr. Adorye is alleged to have stated that the heads of members of the NDC would be chopped off if President Mahama, whose Presidency is under challenge, was declared winner of the ongoing Presidential election petition.
The NPP General Secretary on June 25, 2013 descended on Justice William Atuguba the presiding judge of the panel and described him as a hypocrite, a voodoo deity and a joker.
This comment incurred the displeasure of the judges who hinted in court on July 8, 2013 that a contempt of court charge looms over Sir John. They promised to deal with the matter in due course.
They are to appear before the Court on Wednesday, August 14, 2013, to defend comments they made which is considered to scandalise the court and “lower its authority and credibility in the eyes of the general public”.
But speaking on News File last 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.
Hopeson Adorye, has been quoted as saying the statements attributed to him happened long before the final warning given by the Supreme Court, which landed two persons NDC’s Stephen Atubiga and Ken Kuranchie, Editor of Daily Searchlight in jail for three days and ten days respectively.
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 panellists, Kweku Baako, managing editor of the New Crusading Guide who 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 (DI) 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 Nana Ato Dadzie added that he could see himself pleading in court on behalf of an apologetic Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie.
The summons, dated August 9, 2013 and jointly signed by the presiding judge of the nine-member panel hearing the presidential election petition and the registrar of the Supreme Court, Mr Justice William Atuguba and Mr. James Mensah, respectively, are asking the two to show why they “should not be committed to prison for contempt of this court for scandalising the court, lowering the authority and credibility of this court in the eyes of the general public and exciting hatred and ill-will towards the first and second respondents herein”.
Content of Summons for Sir John according to the Daily Graphic said “It having come to the notice of this court as per a publication in the “Vol. 18 No. 58, Friday 5th July, 2013” issue of the newspaper known as “THE ENQUIRER” under the banner, on the front page thereof, to wit,
“Sir John Descends On Justice Atuguba … Calls him a Hypocrite, A Joker Who Pampers Tsikata, Scolds Addison” and elaborated at page 4 thereof, that you, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as “Sir John”, did on the 25th day of June, 2013 on a talk show, on Oman Fm, in the Twi language described the presiding judge of this panel “as a hypocritical joker who pampers the counsel for the National Democratic Congress, Tsatsu Tsikata, but habitually scolds the counsel for the NPP” … That the said judge habitually “frowned like a voodoo deity.”
…That “Do they think we are stupid, you sit there and frown like a voodoo deity, when Addison is talking you shut him down and beat him with sticks but when it comes to Tsatsu, when he gets angry, you ask him apologetically if he is angry. Tsikata’s cross-examination was for how many days? Didn’t Atuguba and Co see that the questions he was asking were nonsensical?”
…That “What hurts me most is that man that you call Atuguba , or Atu … Atugubu, whoever, you say he is called what?… I mean that judge, that your judge, that judge that you call Atugu… whatever, he oh he, he is funny”
…That “the Supreme Court had prepared mashed yam in palm oil (Eto, an Akan delicacy) and stuffed it with egg for Tsatsu Tsikata to eat”
… That “Justice Atuguba by his action, was up to hypocritical antics that is intended to lead to the NPP not getting the opportunity to play a tape recording of Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan’s voice declaring that ‘No Verification, no vote’, so that the President can win the case.”
…That “Any final verdict of the Supreme Court, apart from the declaration of Akufo-Addo as winner of the elections … would amount to stealing.”
…That “To the relatives of judges sitting on the election petition, … If you have a relative who is on the panel go and tell him that you don’t want a funeral on your hands, beg him to speak the truth. …. I know the judges, they will speak the truth, but there is one or two, one particular judge who opens his mouth at anytime and the next thing you hear is a warning. I want him to know that he can’t intimidate us. I have never heard him warn Mahama.”
…That “the whole of Ghana has watched and seen that Justice Atuguba was trying to cheat the NPP, … and yet he is telling us not to complain.”
You, Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie are hereby ordered to appear before this Court on the 14th day of August, 2013 at 10 O’clock in the forenoon or so soon thereafter as you can be heard to show cause why you should not be committed to prison for contempt of this court, for thereby: scandalising the court, lowering the authority and credibility of this court in the eyes of the general public, and exciting hatred and ill-will towards the first and second respondents herein.
Content of Summons for Hopeson Adorye said, having come to the notice of this court as per a publication in the “VOL. 3 ISSUE# 991 Monday 8th July, 2013” of the Newspaper known as “Daily Post” that you HOPESON ADORYE as per a banner on the front page thereof titled “We Shall Cut The Heads Of NDC Supporters If…Supreme Court Declares Prez Mahama Winner” and continuing with elaboration at page 4 thereof, did say in an interview with Time FM, Obuasi on the 26th day of June 2013 that “the NPP will … go on a head cutting spree, cutting off the heads of NDC supporters should the Supreme Court declare President Mahama the winner”,
… That “the NPP will not accept the verdict of the Supreme Court if Akufo-Addo is not declared winner since others in the NDC have also said there will be civil war if the Supreme Court rules in favour of Akufo-Addo”,… That “the claim by fellow NPP activist, Samuel Awuku, that the Supreme Court judges were bias and are hypocrites was an appropriate comment for which Awuku should not have apologised”.
You, Hopeson Adorye, are hereby ordered to appear before this court on the 14th day of August at 10 O’clock in the forenoon or so soon thereafter as you can be heard, to show cause why you should not be committed to prison for contempt of court, for thereby: scandalising the court, defying and lowering the authority of this court and exciting prejudice and ill will towards the first and third respondents herein.