Messrs Salifu Maase alias Mugabe (host), Alistair Tairo Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn (panellists), as well as the owners of Montie FM, an Accra-based radio station, have been cited for contempt for allegedly making derogatory and threatening remarks against the judges on a radio programme in the studios of the station.
They were, therefore, to show cause why the Supreme Court should not jail them on their three-prong charges of: Scandalising the court, defying and lowering the authority of the court and bringing the authority of the court into disrepute.
But when the case was called and the individual charges preferred against the defendants were read out to them, they all told the court presided over by Ms. Justice Sophia Akuffo that, they received their summons only yesterday in the morning at the Registry.
The defendants who were neatly dressed looked sober with their hands well placed behind them when they mounted the dock, while looking up the ceiling presumably reciting a portion of the Lord’s Prayer which says “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.
They all leaved a sigh of relief, when the court acceded to the request of Nana Ato Dadzie and Nana Agyei Ampofo, Counsel for the accused who pleaded for an adjournment to enable them interact with their clients.
When asked why they were in court, if indeed, they did not get their summons, they replied that, they heard the news on radio and read from the newspapers that the apex court had cited them for contempt and ordered them to appear on Tuesday, July 12, 2016, hence their presence.
Ms. Justice Akuffo then adjourned the case to Monday, July 18, warning that the court would not countenance any excuses from the accused.
On the part of the owners of Montie FM who were represented by Mr. Edward Addo, a member of the Board of Directors, the court stated clearly that in a quasi-criminal matter the owners were to be physically present, but not to delegate somebody to represent them.
Ms. Justice Akuffo then issued an order that all the Directors of Network Broadcasting Limited, owners of Montie FM, should avail themselves next Monday, without fail for the contempt case to be heard.
The Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood and Mr. Justice N.S. Gbadegbe whose lives were allegedly threatened by the contemnors recused themselves from hearing the case and instead brought in Mr. Justice Julius Ansah and Ms. Sophia Akuffo.
The other judges were Justices Anin Yeboah, A.A. Benin and Paul Baffoe-Bonnie.
By Castro Zangina-Tong & Edem Mensah-Tsotorme