A presenter and two panelists of an Accra-based radio station, Montie FM, who were convicted of contempt by the Supreme Court last week have been sentenced to four months in prison.
The owners of the station which includes Edward Addo, Harry Zakuor, Ato Ahwoi and Kwesi Kyei Atuah have been fined 30,000 and have to pay by close of day tomorrow.
The panellists, Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn and a host of the show, Salifu Maase and owners of the radio station were found guilty of contempt charges following threats by the panelists to kill the Judges.
Presiding judge Sophia Akuffo said guests were in the studio to attack with such recklessness.
She said the directors were irresponsible and careless because they were to direct the broad vision of the station.
The panelists, on a discussion programme on the station, threatened to kill judges, with specific reference to Justice Sulemana Gbadegbe and Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood.
The two Justices who were specifically mentioned in the contemptuous comments recused themselves from the case on Tuesday, July 12, the first day they appeared before the court.
They were replaced by Justice Sophia Akuffo and Justice Julius Ansah.
All owners of the radio station were summoned by the court as only one shareholder, Edward Addo showed up in the court on the first day.
The court did not understand why the other directors and owners of the radio station were not in court.
It rejected a claim by Nana Ato Dadzie that the rest of the owners of the radio station are out of the jurisdiction and demanded that the entire owners of Montie FM should have been in court since it is a corporate body.
The court presided over by Justice Akuffo adjourned hearing to Monday, July 18, 2016, after the contemnors complained they didn’t receive the summons in good time.
July 18 hearing
On July 18, other owners, Kwesi Atuah and Harry Zakuor joined Edward Addo, the panellists, and the presenter in the court.
Presiding Judge, Sophia Akuffo ordered that the contemptuous tape is played amidst pleas from the counsel of the contemnors.
The two panellists, Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn after listening to the tape said they were liable with much regret.
Also, Godwin Tamakloe has apologised specifically to two of the Justices – Justice Sule Gbadegbe and Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood – who were specifically mentioned in the threatening comments.
Mugabe said and the directors of the company said they were liable with explanations
Edward Addo indicated the utterances were despicable and ordered an apology to be issued when he heard it.
He added that the perpetrators had been punished and steps had been taken by the management of the station to ensure that comments like that are not repeated.
Another owner, Kwesi Kyei Atuah said he would make sure the incident is not repeated in future but added he appointed management ‘with the hope that they would stop things like this.’
Harry Zakour, owner of the frequency apologised and said the incident will not be repeated.
One of the panellists, Alistair Nelson told the court he suffered a condition, “kpokpo gbligbli” which forced him to make the contemptuous comments.
The apex court convicted them but counsel for the contemnors pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy.
They were asked to re-appear before the court on July 27, 2016, for sentencing. Meanwhile, the police had to escort some people believed to be supporters of the National Democratic Congress out of the court premises.
Ahead of July 27 hearing
One of their lawyers, Godwin Tamakloe publicly retracted the offensive statements made by his clients against the Justices.
The contemnors face a possible jail term or fine, although some legal experts have predicted the panelists especially are very likely to go to jail.
Joy News’ Derrick Ekow Sam reported tht dozens of police officers have been deployed to guard the court ahead of tody’s hearing.