High Court halts Martin Kpebu's claim of unpublished law book

Court Fine File photo

Mon, 18 Sep 2023 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

High Court Judge Justice Kwaku Ackaah-Boafo, who also serves as a Justice of the Court of Appeal, has issued a landmark judgment, preventing private legal practitioner and political commentator, Martin Kpebu from claiming exclusive ownership of an unpublished book titled; "Annotated Evidence Act of Ghana."

According to Asaaseradio.com, the court has ruled in favor of the applicant in the case, Mr. Fred Kusim Awindaogo, who is also a private practice lawyer. This case, numbered GJ 429 2020, is titled "Fred Kusim Awindaogo (plaintiff) versus Martin Luther Kpebu (1st defendant) and Josephine Tekpertey (2nd defendant)."

In the judgment delivered on April 5, 2023, Justice Ackaah-Boafo highlighted the central dispute between the plaintiff and the 1st defendant; both lawyers, over the ownership and copyright of the book, "Annotated Evidence Law of Ghana."

While the plaintiff initiated the project and invited the 1st defendant to collaborate, the 1st defendant, Martin Luther Kpebu, argued that the plaintiff lacked the intellectual capability to be the book's author.

Kpebu asserted that he had essentially rewritten all of the plaintiff's work, making the final book his sole creation, not a joint effort.

Justice Ackaah-Boafo clarified the issues at hand, stating, "In my view, this court is called upon to deal with such issues as copyright and the allegation of breach of the agreement executed by the parties and the allegation of bad faith by the 1st defendant (Martin Luther Kpebu)."

The plaintiff, Fred Kusim Awindaogo, presented 12 reliefs to the court in his lawsuit:

A declaration that the plaintiff and the 1st defendant are joint or co-authors of the book, tentatively titled "Annotated Evidence Act of Ghana," based on the agreement between them.

A declaration that the 1st defendant's attempt to remove the plaintiff's name from the work is unfair, dishonest, and in bad faith, constituting a breach of their agreement.

An order of perpetual injunction preventing the 1st defendant from claiming sole authorship of the book.

An order of perpetual injunction preventing the 1st and 2nd defendants from publishing the book without acknowledging the plaintiff as a co-author.

An order of perpetual injunction preventing the defendants from circulating the book without acknowledging the plaintiff's co-authorship.

Justice Ackaah-Boafo's court granted all five of these reliefs as requested by the plaintiff. The court ruled that the book, "Annotated Evidence Act of Ghana," is a joint effort of both the plaintiff and the 1st defendant, and they are co-owners and co-authors of the book. The final manuscript will be published under their joint names, in accordance with the terms of their agreement.

If the 1st defendant chooses not to publish the book jointly, the plaintiff is free to publish it independently.

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Source: www.ghanaweb.com