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Montie 3 Remission: Lawyer Sues AG
 
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29-Aug-2016  
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A private legal practitioner, Alfred Tuah Yeboah has challenged President John Mahama’s decision to free the three Montie FM contemnors who were sentenced to a four-month jail term, and has proceeded to court to file a suit against the Attorney General over the matter.

Mr Yeboah argues that Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution does not permit President Mahama to free the three because the prerogative to show mercy “is limited to convictions ‘for criminal offences’ and does not include convictions for contempt arising from the inherent jurisdiction of the court…”

Mr Yeboah, who filed the suit at the Supreme Court for interpretation, said even if the president can grant remission of jail terms imposed on convicts who were found culpable of contempt, it can only be applied to cases in which contempt cases were initiated by the Attorney General.

He is, therefore, seeking a “declaration that the grant of remission of the sentence to Godwin Ako Gunn, Alistair Nelson and Salifu Maase alias Mugabe who were sentenced to four months’ imprisonment by the Court for contempt is contrary to Article 72 and 296(c) of the 1992 Constitution and is, therefore, void and of no legal effect.”

Additionally, he is seeking praying the court to annul the remission granted by the president.

The trio were found guilty of scandalising the Supreme Court, defying and lowering its authority, and bringing it into disrepute and handed the custodial sentence plus a fine.

A statement signed and released on Monday, 22 August, by Communications Minister Dr Edward Omane Boamah said: “The President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, has, in consultation with the Council of State and in exercise of his constitutional powers under Article 72 of the Constitution, remitted the remainder of the prison sentence imposed on three persons: Salifu Maase (alias Mugabe), Alistair Nelson, and Ako Gunn, who were sentenced to four months' imprisonment and a fine of GHS10,000.00 each for contempt of court. The remission is effective 26th August, 2016.”

“The three were sentenced on 27 July 2016 and have served part of the prison sentences imposed on them. They have also paid the GHS 10,000.00 (ten thousand cedis) fines. The decision of His Excellency the President to remit their sentences on compassionate grounds follows a petition submitted to him by the contemnors appealing to the president to exercise his prerogative of mercy even as they continue to express deep remorse and regret for the unacceptable statements they made against the judiciary.

“His Excellency President Mahama takes this opportunity to remind all Ghanaians of the need to respect the institutions of state and exercise freedom of speech responsibly mindful of the need to preserve peace and national unity. The president reminds all concerned especially persons working in the media or appearing on its platforms to be circumspect and guard against the use of intemperate language which has the potential of causing unnecessary tension especially in this election year.

“The President is hopeful that all will draw lessons from the events leading to the conviction of the three persons and bear in mind the consequences of injudicious utterances,” the statement added.

Background

Mr Gunn and Mr Nelson, who were panellists on a political talk show called Pampaso on Montie FM hosted by Mugabe threatened to kill judges of the apex court while discussing issues concerning the register of voters on June 29, 2016.

On Wednesday July 27, the Supreme Court of Ghana handed the jail term to the trio. Apart from the jail sentence, each of them was also fined a sum of GHS 10,000. The owners of the station including Mr Harry Zakkour, who is also the second vice-chairman of the governing National Democratic Congress, as well as Mr Edward Addo, Ato Ahwoi, and Kwesi Kyei Atuah, were also fined GHS 30,000 each. The owners were also asked by the Supreme Court to submit policy documents spelling out how to forestall similar happenings in the future. They were also asked to ensure that none of their media outlets was used to scandalise the court or bring it into disrepute.

Right after the sentencing, several groups and individuals started making arguments for the need for the president to free the trio. A group called Research and Advocacy Platform (RAP) gathered signatures from citizens to support a petition presented to President John Mahama in connection with that.
 
 
 
Source: Classfmonline
 
 

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