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Supreme Court bars Sammy Awuku but…


Sammy AwukuSupreme Court bars Sammy Awuku but…

The Supreme Court has barred Sammy Awuku, New Patriotic Party’s Deputy Communications Director from attending further hearing of the Election Petition challenging the outcome of the 2012 elections.

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The Court imposed the sanction on the party spokesman as punishment for comments he made on proceedings that the court found unsavoury.

Presiding Judge, Justice William Atuguba, who pronounced the decision, said the court was stopping short of punishing Awuku for contempt but any further show of disrespect to the court by anybody, would be dealt with more severely.

Profuse appreciation quickly poured in from counsel from parties on both sides of the petition, with lawyer after lawyer expressing gratitude to the court for dealing leniently with the erring Awuku, who had personally showed up in court to apologise and show remorse for the comments complained of.

The Court said it had taken into consideration Sammy Awuku’s candid admission of the comments he made on Peace FM in reaction to the final warnings of the court in relation to misreportage by the media of the petition proceedings and the “previous warnings concerning contemptuous comments, utterances and attitudes towards this apex court of Ghana, issued just on the 24th day of June 2013.

“He has apologised and withdrawn the same before this court and has further undertaken to repeat the retraction by 6pm today. We have also considered with admiration the pleas put in on his behalf both in chambers and in open court by lead counsel for the parties on both sides of this case. We have however noted with great concern the steady decline of respect for the authority of the judiciary, the third arm of government of this country over the past years. It appears that the warnings of this court particularly that of the 24th day of June 2013 has not been taken seriously. It is quite apparent that the pompous show of private power in the pursuit of the right to engage in political organisation and activity by which the passions of the humble members of society are stirred up on deliberately false political propaganda is a recipe for chaos and conflict in this country.

“We have seen the Kenyan precedent in this context and much as we are concerned not to exercise our undoubted powers as a court of law with iron fist, we cannot allow the emergence of over mighty subjects in this country as he said on the 24th day of June 2013. However, in order to show that we mean well for this country with regard to the exercise of our awesome powers we have decided to stop short of invoking our powers of contempt and invoke in the alternative, our power to control the attendance of our proceedings as a public court by members of the public. We take judicial notice of the fact that Mr. Sammy Awuku has been attending the proceedings of this court in this ongoing case. We think that the exclusion of Mr. Sammy Awuku from attending the proceedings of this court for the rest of the duration of this case should suffice for a start in this direction. That is our ruling.”

Turning to Sammy Awuku, Justice Atuguba said; “We’ve given you full opportunity to demonstrate how mighty you are and we hope you’ve done so? Do you now realise your real size, in this country?”

Sammy Awuku: Yes My Lord.

Justice Atuguba: Good. You are discharged.

Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, lead counsel for the National Democratic Congress, which is the third respondent in the case, was first among the lawyers to express gratitude to the court.

“I respectfully will like to acknowledge the mercy that your Lordships have shown and tempered justice accordingly.”

He was followed by Mr. Tony Lithur, lead counsel for President John Mahama who is first respondent in the case: My Lords we are touched by the fact that you listened to us in chambers and tempered justice with mercy.”

“Likewise, likewise Your Lordships,” said Mr. James Quashie-Idun, lead counsel for the Electoral Commission, second respondent.

“My Lords we associate ourselves with the sentiments expressed by my learned friends and we thank the court,” said Mr. Philip Addison, lead counsel for the petitioners.

Story by Isaac Yeboah/Graphic.com.gh/Ghana

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