FLASHBACK: Sir John appears before Supreme Court panel

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Thu, 2 Jul 2020 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The late Forestry Commission CEO during his days as the General Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) was summoned before the Supreme Court of Ghana on Monday, July 8, 2013, for making contemptuous comments against the Bench during the presidential election petition.

Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie aka Sir John had accused the nine-member Justices of the Supreme Court of bias for their actions in a criminal contempt case involving Sammy Awuku, an NPP activist.

Sir John alleged that the reaction of the bench in respect of public comments on the proceedings in the presidential election petition was an attempt to cow people from expressing themselves.

Sir John in an interview retorted, “The conduct of the Supreme Court Judges in the infamous Sammy Awuku encounter is appalling and must be condemned.”

Sir John had tried to equalize a comment made by former President John Mahama which to him was clearly contemptuous but which the Justices, he alleged, had turned a blind eye to, and rather pointed out Sammy Awuku’s comments as contemptuous.

Sir John had expected to answer the contempt charges with John Mahama who was a sitting president and whose election was being challenged by then-candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, who is now president.

He further 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 commentary about cases they preside over.

In January 2013, Nana Akufo-Addo, losing candidate in the December 2012 presidential election petitioned the Supreme Court of Ghana to overturn the verdict of the Electoral Commission.

During the trial, Sir John observed that the justices of the Supreme Court were “gentle when dealing with Counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Tsatsu Tsikata, but they were hard on Philip Addison, Counsel for the petitioners”.

He then charged Justice William Atuguba, president of the panel of judges hearing the petition to be careful with his actions.

Upon appearing before the court, his counsel, Ayikoi Otoo, pleaded with the court to be lenient and declared that his client had pleaded guilty to the charge.

According to Ayikoi Otoo, “… some power for which no one had control over, entered Owusu Afriyie, because as a lawyer, he ought to have known the law”.

Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie was made to sign a bond of good behaviour, He was also made to retract and offer an apology to the bench within 24 hours on the same platform he had used to criticise the court.

Watch below the full proceedings of Sir John’s appearance in Court.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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