Enquirer newspaper editor fined GH¢1,200
Raymond Archer, the Editor of the Enquirer newspaper, was on Friday convicted to a fine of 100 penalty units (GH¢1,200) by an Accra High Court that found him liable for contempt of court.
Archer in default will go to jail for two weeks.
Focal Media Publications, publishers of the Enquirer, is also to pay a fine of GH¢1,200. No cost was awarded.
This was after the court had found him liable in a contempt application brought him following a series of publications about Akwasi Osei-Adjei, former Foreign Affairs Minister and Mr Dan Gyimah, former Managing Director of the National Investment Bank, for various alleged roles they played in the importation of 300,000 bags of rice into the country.
In the publications Archer had described Osei-Adjei as “rice master,” and contended further that the former Minister had made secret moves to bribe witnesses who had appeared before the court.
The court presided over by Mr Justice Bright Mensah handing the sentence admonished Archer with a bible quotation Proverbs 28:13 which reads: “People who conceal their sins will not proper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.”
The court said it had taken into the consideration of submissions of both counsels and accepted his apology.
Admonishing Archer to be good, the court entreated him also not to repeat his actions. He should also inform his friends not repeat his actions.
The trial judge said he would “not condone any actions that would put the nation in flames”.
Archer’s counsel, Mr Tony Lithur, earlier informed that court that they had complied with the orders of the court by rendering an apology to the court through the registrar.
According to him, they had also given a copy of the apology letter to Osei-Adjei and published a retraction and an apology on the front page of the Enquirer.
Offering a copy of the newspaper to the court, Mr Lithur asked the court to tamper justice with mercy and caution and discharge Archer.
Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame, Osei-Adjei’s lawyer, prayed the court to be guided by the rules of the contempt saying Archer was not a first offender.
According to him, five years ago, Archer was convicted but he had not repented adding he was a habitual contemnor.
“In the first case he was fined but that did not deter him and he continued to publish defamatory articles. To serve as deterrent, the court should give him a lenient custodial sentence or a substantial fine,” he said.
He drew the court’s attention of what his client had gone through in trying to serve him with the court processes and prayed the court to award a punitive cost.
Sympathizers who thronged the court nearly caused commotion as they chauffeured Archer to the court’s registry to pay his fine.
Some of them, however, vented their anger on Mr Abraham Quartey, a security man who prevented them from entering the court with drums.
Mr Quartey had told them that they were not supposed to beat the drum on the premises.
Mr Wellington Lamptey, Head of Security at the Fast Track High Court Premises, told journalists that Mr Quartey’s shirt was torn following his struggle with the sympathizers.