Crime & Punishment Thu, 15 Jun 2006

Baby Ansabah files application for contempt against Democrat

Accra, June 15, GNA - Mr Ato Sam, aka Baby Ansabah, a journalist of Daily Guide newspaper has filed an application at the Fast Track High Court seeking an order to cite Democrat Publications and Kwabena Boadu, Editor of the Ghanaian Democrat for contempt.

The application is calling for "a heavy fine" on Democrat Publications and the commission of Mr Boadu to prison for contempt in publications of Thursday May 18, 2006 and Tuesday May 23, 2006.

Mr Sam is seeking further orders on the respondents (Mr Boadu and Democrat Publication) to withdraw in the publications, render a full and an unqualified apology on the front page of the Ghanaian Democrat newspaper.

In addition, Mr Sam is seeking further orders as the court may deem fit.

In an affidavit in support of notice on motion, Mr Sam said he entered an appearance in a libel suit filed by Mrs Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings against him, Mrs Gina Blay, Editor of the Daily Guide, and Western Publication and court proceedings commenced in February 2006.

Mr Sam said he called his first witness, the Auditor-General, to testify on March 29. In the course of the testimony of the Auditor-General, proceedings were adjourned to May 9 for further cross-examination but owing to a conference of the Judiciary the court did not sit.

At the next sitting on May 15, the Auditor-General, who was still under cross-examination wrote to the Court informing it that he could not attend Court hence prayed for adjournment to June.

In that circumstance, the Court adjourned the proceeding to Wednesday May 17 for another subpoena on the Attorney-General (A-G) to testify and ordered the Registrar of the Court to prepare it and serve an order to that effect.

On the next adjourned date the presiding Judge indicated that there had been a problem with the drafting of her orders hence the case was adjourned to June 12.

In the May 18 edition of the Ghanaian Democrat, it went ahead to publish a story with headline: "Daily Guide Gang Flee, Baby Ansabah, Gina Blay, Auditor-General and Counsel Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame take to their heels."

The said story was accompanied by a cartoon with a headline "Wages of Irresponsible Journalism" depicting that Ansabah; Mrs Blay; Auditor-General and Counsel running towards President John Agyekum Kufuor with open arms saying, "Baby, Gina, Odaame, Agyeman-Duah, hurry, hurry here. Just get here quick. I will manipulate the judiciary, come, come."

Mr Sam noted the said publication and the carton did not only prejudge the suit but seemed to scandalize, interfere and obstruct the due administration of justice.

He said the publication also accused the Government of manipulating the Judiciary and seemed to scandalize the Court.

Mr Sam said the conduct of Mr Boadu and Democrat Publication made them liable for criminal contempt. "A heavy fine ought to be imposed on the Democrat Publication and Mr Boadu be held in prison until he purges himself of the contempt."

Source: GNA