Lawyers for the convicted host and panellists of Montie FM have decided to petition President John Dramani Mahama to pardon the three.
The move is to ensure that the President uses his prerogative of mercy, as stated in Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution, to pardon the three convicts.
“We have already started serving the term. We paid the GH¢10,000 penalty for each one of them and so they have started serving the four-month jail term, but we are rather pleading with the President, based on the advice of my clients, to pardon them in respect of the custodial sentence,” one of the lawyers, Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe, was reported as saying on Joy News.
The Supreme Court last Wednesday sent a strong warning to people who make irresponsible comments on media platforms by sentencing two radio panellists and a programme host to four months’ imprisonment each for scandalising the court.
The two panellists, Alistair Tairo Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn, and the host, Salifu Maase, alias Mugabe, were also to pay GH¢10,000 each or in default serve an additional one month each in prison.
The two panellists, spurred on by Maase, threatened the lives of judges of the superior court, especially those who heard the case on the credibility of the country’s electoral roll filed by Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako against the Electoral Commission (EC).
The trio, together with the directors of Network Broadcasting Company Limited (NBCL), operators of Montie FM, the radio station where the comments were made, and ZeZe Media, owners of the station frequency, were on July 18, 2016 convicted for contempt of the apex court.
They were found guilty of scandalising the court, defying and lowering the authority of the court and bringing the name of the court into disrepute.
The court, however, did not sentence the trio for the threat of harm and death that they made against the judges, explaining that that constituted another matter for another branch of government to take action.
With the Supreme Court breathing heavily on their necks, the trio sought to purge themselves by apologising on the station, while the management of the station also suspended the host.
But the action came a little too late, as the court declined to accept the apologies.
But Mr Tamakloe is reported to have said his clients deserved pardon from the President because they had shown remorse for their actions.
It was his view that the convicts were not challenging their punishment but rather want their incarceration reconsidered.
What the Constitution says
Article 72 (1) (a-d) of the Constitution mandates the President, acting in consultation with the Council of State, to exercise the Prerogative of Mercy.
These powers can be exercised through “(a) granting to a person convicted of an offence a pardon either free or subject to lawful conditions; or (b) grant to a person a respite, either indefinite or for a specified period, from the execution of punishment imposed on him for an offence; or (c) substitute a less severe form of punishment for a punishment imposed on a person for an offence; or (d) remit the whole or part of a punishment imposed on a person or of a penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to government on account of any offence”.
Pardons from the past
On July 1, this year, President Mahama granted amnesty to 896 prisoners in commemoration of the 56th Republic anniversary.
In September 2000, President J.J. Rawlings also pardoned scores of prisoners classified as aged and very sick.
In March 2005, President John Agyekum Kufuor granted amnesty to 1,317 prisoners on humanitarian grounds to commemorate the 48th anniversary of Independence and in March 2007 he again granted amnesty to 1,203 prisoners on humanitarian grounds in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of independence.
Source: Daily Graphic
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