Judge Throws Out NPP’s Gag Order On Media

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In Paul Afoko’s Case

The Human Rights High Court Judge, yesterday counseled the Lawyers of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) led by Godfred Yeboah-Dame, to read the Constitution of the land to apprise themselves on the right to free speech.

Justice Anthony Yeboah, was reacting to the oral application by Godfred Dame, to caution the media on their reportage.

‘‘I will not sit in a human rights court to gag any citizen of the land rather than promoting it,’’ he told Lawyer Odame.

He said, the Constitution of the land, enjoins every citizen of the land to free speech, in so far as, it does not injure the substantive case in court.

Mr. Afoko, would have effectively been banned from speaking about his case to the media, had Justice Yeboah, granted the verbal application of the NPP.

The order, would also have meant that the media would be cited for contempt of court for media reports seen as unfavorable by the NPP lawyers and brought to the attention of the highly respected and diligent Justice Anthony Yeboah.

In court yesterday to represent the NPP were, CK Tedam, Professor Mike Ocquaye, IC Quaye, Alhaji Yiremia. CK Tedam, and Alhaji Yiremia, respectively acted as petitioner and Disciplinary Committee Chairman in the suspension of Mr. Afoko.

Another attempt by lawyers of the (NPP) to further delay and prolong the preliminary hearing hit a snag as the court rejected Mr. Dame’s plea to adjourn the case for about three extra days to allow him look into the processes served on him by Paul Afoko’s lawyer, Osafo Buabeng.

But the Judge denied the plea and advised him on the rights of Paul Afoko.

‘Don’t forget the plaintiff was duly elected, and you suspended him until after the elections’. ‘With your deeds, we may be endorsing your action’ he stressed.

The case was, however, adjourned to today at 12noon.
Justice Anthony Yeboah, had indicated that any delay in the trial of the case, could be detrimental to his rights.

He cautioned both parties in the case, saying the suit is about the human rights of an individual, therefore, the case should not be unduly delayed.
Paul Afoko in 2015, filed the suit challenging his suspension as National Chairman. According to him, the action and processes leading to his suspension by some elements of the party, were unconstitutional and a breach of natural justice.

The NPP’s National Executive Committee, suspended Mr. Afoko in October 2015, for “misconduct.” The decision was adopted by the party’s National
Council, which is the second highest decision making body of the party after congress.

Mr. Afoko, rejected the reasons for his suspension and subsequently sued the party for taking such an action against him.
The suspended Chair, had earlier described his suspension as unconstitutional and a breach of natural justice.

“The illegal National Executive Committee meeting adopted the illegal recommendations of the disciplinary committee following the rules and
procedures laid down by the constitution by appealing against these illegalities,” he complained.

Paul Afoko, had alleged that the party’s action against him was masterminded by some members of the party who opposed his candidature before his election.

He said members of the National Council meeting that voted to suspend him, were his avowed opponents who worked against his candidature ahead of the party’s congress to elect national officers.

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