Mr. Alfred Tuah Yeboah is praying the Supreme Court for a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution, the president’s power of prerogative of mercy “is limited to convictions ‘for criminal offences’ and does not include convictions for contempt arising from the inherent jurisdiction of the court…”.
The highest court of the land in July, this year, found three pro-government radio commentators guilty of contempt of court on their own plea.
Salifu Maase, a radio host of pro-NDC Montie FM, Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn were sentenced to four months’ imprisonment for scandalising the court.
They were also fined 10,000 cedis each.
After serving one month of the prison sentence, President John Mahama remitted the remainder of their sentence, exercising his powers under Article 72 of the constitution.
The Article states, “The President may, acting in consultation with the Council of State grant to a person convicted of an offence a pardon either free or subject to lawful conditions; or grant to a person a respite, either indefinite or for a specified period, from the execution of punishment imposed on him for an offence”.
Mr. Tuah Yeboah however argued that if at all the president could exercise his power of prerogative of mercy, it was limited to convictions arising out of contempt proceedings initiated by the Attorney-General.
He therefore wants a “Declaration that the grant of remission of the sentence to Godwin Ako Gunn, Alistair Nelson and Salifu Maase alias Mugabe who were sentenced to four (4) months’ imprisonment by the court for contempt is contrary to Article 72 and 296(c) of the 1992 Constitution and is, therefore, void and of no legal effect”.
Last, he wants an order reversing the remission of the sentences which was granted the three.