Some potentially contemptuous comments made by the General Secretary of the main opposition New Patriotic Party, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, have been brought to the attention of the Supreme Court.
The nine-member Bench hearing the election petition case has taken judicial notice of the comments and intends “advising” itself on the matter before the end of today’s hearing.
Mr. Owusu Afriyie is reported by myjoyonline to have said the Supreme Court Judges' reaction in respect of public comments on the proceedings in the ongoing presidential election petition was an attempt to cow people from expressing themselves.
According to the publication, “Sir John indicated that the conduct of the Supreme Court Judges in the infamous Sammy Awuku encounter is appalling and must be condemned”.
The interview was re-played on Radio Gold’s Alhaji and Alhaji news analysis programme on Saturday July 6, during a panel discussion on contemptuous and unethical comments about the on-going election petition hearing.
The website reports that Sir John, as Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie is popularly called, said he has heard President John Mahama make comments which are clearly contemptuous, but the Judges are yet to point to his comments as contempt, much less to invite him, like they did to Sammy Awuku.
He also questioned the Judges’ rationale for reading or listening to commentaries in the media, and admonished them to learn from the UK’s House of Lords, who according to him, closed their eyes and ears to media commentaries about cases they preside over.
According to the report, an “angry Sir John went on further with his sharp criticism of the Judges’ conduct when he said they are gentle when dealing with Counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, but they are hard on Philip Addison, Counsel for the petitioners”.
“He charged Justice William Atuguba, president of the panel of Judges hearing the petition, to be careful with his actions.”
At the resumption of hearing today, the President of the nine-member panel, Justice William Atuguba bewailed that “more terrible things are coming [out]” despite the Court’s conviction of Ken Kuranchie and Stephen Atubiga to separate prison terms for criminal contempt.
Justice Atuguba said there was a publication in the Enquirer Newspaper about Sir John’s alleged comments as well as a tape containing the alleged comments.
He noted that: “…The publication in the Enquirer and the tape concerns a person going by the description Sir John. We understand he comes to this Court…we don’t know this people...Why should we have to grapple with them in terms of our contempt powers”.
“…If we take action [against some people] and others are provocative and we don’t [take similar action] then it looks lopsided and we don’t want that. Even where we are not [lopsided] we are accused of being lopsided”, Justice Atuguba noted adding that: “We’ve called for the tape and we’ll advice ourselves accordingly”.
He said the Court has also taken judicial notice of a publication in which someone is daring to behead supporters of the governing National Democratic Congress if the Supreme Court rules that President John Mahama won the 2012 elections fairly.