Supreme Court worried over contemptuous statements
Justice William Atuguba, President of the Supreme Court panel hearing the election petition by New Patriotic Party (NPP), on Monday expressed concern over contemptuous statements been made by certain individuals in the media about the court.
He said such people are going beyond the touchline warning.
Justice Atubiga said it is not a pleasant thing for the court to be summoning people to appear before it, but they have been left with no choice.
He referred to a front-page publication by the Enquirer Newspaper in which Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie also known as ‘Sir John’, General Secretary of NPP is reported to have made contemptuous statements in respect of the Justices.
He also referred to another comment made by an unnamed political commentator who is alleged to have said that, “we shall cut the heads of NDC supporters if Supreme Court declares President Mahama winner”.
Justice Atuguba condemned the statements saying there is nothing to be gained by championing extremist ideas of the right to free speech.
He said the implications of failing to fulfil that duty of summons can be grave.
He said limitations are there but people think the right to free speech must be sustained without upholding those limitations.
Justice Atuguba said subsequent to the initial sanctions taken, there has been moderation but more terrible things are coming.
“Some of the publications are contemptuous.”
“In the course of time we shall deal with that”, he added.
He said the court has called for the tape Sir John purportedly made the contemptuous statement.
Accordingly the person who talked about cutting of heads would also be dealt with.
Earlier, Mr Tony lithur, Counsel for first Respondent had to apologise to the petitioners for alleging that some of the pink sheet lists tendered have been forged.
He said the petitioners are creating new exhibits different from what had been filed.
However, Mr Philip Addison, Lead Counsel for the petitioners told the court that the list he intended to cross examine Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) on were rejected by the respondents on the grounds that it does not match with the KPMG report.
KPMG, a global network of professional firms providing auditing, advisory and tax services, audited the pink sheets of the EC provided to the court by the petitioners and the respondents.
He said as a result of the objection they have to send a letter to the Registrar of the court to provide their copies, which were captured by the KPMG report for the cross examination.
He explained that they are only seeking to use copies of pink sheets that are already in the custody of the court and with the Registrar. Nothing more nothing less.
Mr Addison also confirmed that the respondents have been served copies of the letter which was sent to the registrar.
Just before the court was about to go on recess Dr Afari Gyan mounted the witness box to answer questions on a list of 905 polling stations, which the court had asked him to submit.
Dr Afari Gyan also confirmed that the list of the polling stations relates to the unsigned pink sheets and handed them over to Mr Addison.
Mr Addison checked the list and said the list does not contain the information they are seeking on the 905 polling stations.
Justice Sulley Gbadegbe then intervened and asked if the petitioners whether they want to tender the document?
He said the court cannot wait for the petitioners to look through a list of 905 polling stations.
He said if it is the case that the petitioners have a problem with the list submitted by the EC, they can tender it and upon tendering raise their concerns but they cannot keep the court waiting.
Mr Addison was however worried that the EC did not make a clearly defined list of 905 polling stations.
He said what they have done is to include some information they claim are not important.
Mr Addison later reluctantly tendered the document through the witness.