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Montie Trio Brouhaha…. CDD's Statement Strange
 
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04-Aug-2016  
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The Center for Democratic Development, CDD has shot itself in the foot in its failed attempt to tow the middle line in the ensuing debate over the Montie 3 jailed by the Supreme Court for contempt.

CDD, a governance think tank has condemned the harsh sentence slapped on the contemnors and the owners of the media house, Montie 100.10FM, yet has suggested a Presidential pardon will represent misuse of Executive power.

Wonders indeed will never end. I read the CDD statement over and over again and I am scandalized by some of the issues raised especially those regarding calls on President Mahama to exercise his power of mercy under Article 72 of the Constitution to pardon the three, Salifu Maase, Host of Montie FM Pampaso programme, Godwin Ako Gunn and Alistair Tairo Nelson who were both guests on the show.

People from all walks of life are appealing to the President to free the trio who are serving four month prison terms but the think tank, CDD shares a strange view.

A paragraph of its statement read, .. ”In a sense, it will institutionalize an already unfair practice of incumbent party sympathizers being treated differently before the law and by the state. Montie FM and its owners are avowed NDC and Mahama administration supporters and promoters. No matter the depth of sympathy for the individuals involved in the Montie case, this cannot be a constructive cure,”

I was dumfounded.

Is the CDD saying that the basis for rejecting a pardon should be on the basis of the political party?  Are the Montie trio not citizens of Ghana? Are their rights not guaranteed under the Constitution of Ghana?

Some 870 prisoners were pardoned on July1, this year to mark the 56th Republican celebrations of the country.  Is the CDD saying those prisoners should not have been pardoned if they were identified to be card bearing members of the NDC?

I am totally gutted and scandalized that a serious Think Tank like the CDD, for fear of attacks by an aggressive opposition party, will make such a statement.

I am deeply troubled because the conclusions the CDD arrives for urging the President not to grant pardon, does not seem to be supported by the think tank’s own argument that the CONVICTION of the trio is problematic.

In its statement, the CDD argued that…“The classification of the Montie case as contempt is problematic because it blurs the lines between legitimate public opinion on judicial rulings, which is encouraged under a democratic system of checks and balances, and traditional contempt cases.”

Continuing it stated, “the actions of the court have encouraged continued taunting of the Judiciary and, hence, a weakening of its legitimacy.”

In the view of the CDD, there are two possible ways the Courts can cite a person for contempt.

These are, “When a person disrupts court proceedings, and is therefore deemed to have perverted the course of justice and when a person disobeys a court order.” 

Beautiful, even though I have heard some lawyers and commentators disagree with the CDD’s view of judicial contempt.

Nevertheless, the CDD statementindicated that, the Supreme Court’s broad interpretation and enforcement of the contempt of the court rule in the Montie case had transgressed the boundaries of the long-held understanding of what constitute contempt.”

What is the CDD saying? Is it not saying that by its understanding of the law, the Supreme Court has done wrong to three citizens of Ghana?

If that is the case, would one not expect the CDD to be at the vanguard for righting the wrong?  Should the CDD not be learning from the Motto of the Wesley Girls High School to wit: “live pure speak true right wrong follow the king?”

Yet, in the same statement the CDD said the President would set a bad precedent if he decides to free the three jailed Montie FM contemnors.

How? What is the basis for this position when the CDD sought to punch holes in the Supreme Court’s decision to evoke its original jurisdiction?

The CDD argued that, “Evoking the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction in these instances undermines and conflicts with other equally important rights and protections under the Constitution, such as the right to fair trial and equality before the law.

The wonders of wonders exhibited by the CDD was when it stated that in spite of the flaws it has identified in the trial and convictions, the three victimized Ghanaians in the Montie case should not be pardoned because a reprieve for them will “ represent the most vulgar misuse of Executive power and worse still, set a dangerous precedent.”

I can’t believe this. This is a worse miscarriage of justice than what the CDD is accruing the Supreme Court of meting out to the Montie Trio.

The CDD must come again.
 
 
 
Source: Dan Acheampong
 
 

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