An Accra High Court has dismissed an application filed by National Democratic Congress (NDC) activist, Dela Coffie, seeking to strike out a defamation suit brought against him by President of IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe.
The court ordered Dela Coffie to file his defence within 10 days, and pay Mr. Cudjoe an amount of GHc1,500 as costs for filing the application.
Mr. Cudjoe on March 20, 2015 sued Dela Coffie and Michael Dokosi (the Editor of the Daily Post newspaper) for publishing what he described as defamatory matters against him in the Daily Post newspaper and on Dela Coffie’s Facebook wall.
Mr. Cudjoe prayed the court to grant him damages totaling GHc11 million against the two persons.
Michael Dokosi, acting by his lawyer, David Annan, entered conditional appearance and then filed a defence.
However, Dela Coffie’s lawyer, Justice Sai, filed a motion asking the court to strike out the action, claiming that there was no reasonable cause of action and that the move was an abuse of court processes.
Curiously, David Annan, who had filed a defence for his client but had no application before the court, argued in support of Dela Coffie’s application, and also urged the court to dismiss the action on the ground that a law firm cannot act for a party in court.
For his part, Mr. Cudjoe’s lawyer, Mr. Ace Ankomah opposed the application on the grounds that his client’s statement of claim contained all the necessary particulars required by law.
He also said the application had failed to show any credible ground for saying that there had been an abuse of the court processes.
He also responded to David Annan, arguing that once he filed a defence, he could not argue to strike out the action, especially in the absence of a formal application by him [Mr. Annan].
In its ruling, the court dismissed all the grounds on which the application by lawyer Justice Sai was based.
The judge, His Lordship Justice Daniel Mensah, said that the particulars in Mr. Cudjoe’s statement of claim were sufficient and it was clear that there was a cause of action against Dela Coffie.
He added that there was no basis to claim an abuse of the court’s process.
The judge also agreed with Mr. Cudjoe’s lawyer (Mr. Ankomah) that David Annan should have filed his own application, and that once he filed a defence after entering conditional appearance, he could not make any such application to the court.
The court stated that it would therefore not take David Annan’s arguments into consideration.
With the dismissal of this application, the case is to take its normal course and Dela Coffie has 10 days to file his defence to Mr. Cudjoe’s action.
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