Criminal contempt: Kuranchie, Atubiga jailed

Tue, 2 Jul 2013 Source: XYZ

The Supreme Court has sentenced Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Searchlight Newspaper, Ken Kuranchie to 10 days in prison for contemptuous comments he made in the paper’s front page comment in relation to the ongoing election petition.

The publication sought to question the court’s invitation of the main opposition New Patriotic Party’s Deputy Communication Director Sammy Awuku who was reprimanded by the Bench for describing the court as “hypocritical and selective”.

Ken Kuranchie’s wondered why there were people who had made, in his paper’s view, worst comments than that of Sammy Awuku, but were nonetheless never invited nor reprimanded by the court.

Mr. Kuranchie in court today firstly sought to find out from the Bench what the basis of his invitation was and also wondered if he was being confronted with a charged sheet or not.

He had stints of back-and-forth exchanges with members of the nine-member Bench who attempted to get him to either go straight forward and admit his guilt and apologise or stand his ground if he thought he was right and the Bench was wrong.

Some of the members of the Bench were near-livid about Mr. Kuranchie’s posture and hesitation to render an out-rightly abject and unqualified apology to the Court as Mr. Awuku and one other person, Stephen Atubiga had done.

In the midst of the back-and-forth between Mr. Kuranchie and the Bench, one of the Justices warned him not to try to be a “hero”.

Half-way through his appearance and engagement with the Bench, Mr. Kuranchie’s Counsel, Samuel Atta Akyea and Yaw Addo approached their client to offer some advice after seeking leave from the Bench.

Mr. Kuranchie then offered a qualified apology by predicating his comments with a conditional “if”.

After promptings by the Bench for him to make a full unqualified apology, Mr. Kuranchie said: “It seems” his publication rubbed the Bench on the wrong side and so he was apologising.

The Bench, after a brief recess, sentenced Mr. Kuranchie to 10 days in prison.

Earlier, the lead counsel for the parties involved in the election petition case jointly made a public statement supporting any disciplinary actions that the Supreme Court would pronounce on the contemnors.

The other two, who also appeared before the court over alleged contemptuous comments, include Kweku Boahen and Stephen Atubiga, both members of the governing National Democratic Congress.

Stephen Atubiga, who, before his invitation, beat a hasty retreat and ate back his words and topped it up with tonnes of abject and unqualified apologies in court today, was also jailed three days by the court.

His fellow communication team member of the party’s Ashanti branch, however, described the Statesman newspaper publication which reported that he had vowed that his party will not hand over power even if the court ruled so, as “false”.

Source: XYZ

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