Woman punished for defamation

For defaming a staff of the New Juaben Municipal Assembly in the Eastern Region, Madam Agnes Akupoka, a secre-tary of the Assemblies of God Church at Koforidua, has been ordered by a Koforidua Circuit Court to pay GH¢3,000 damages to Mr. John Abugri.

She is also to pay GH¢500 cost to the plaintiff.

Madam Akupoka is alleged to have made statements to the effect that the plaintiff, Mr. Abugri, caused his (Abugri’s) wife’s death by biting her breast during a scuffle which resulted in breast cancer leading to her demise.

According to the plaintiff, the unsubstantiated allegation by Madam Akupoka had spread like bushfire in and outside Koforidua and tarnished his hard-won reputation, besides generating confusion between him (plaintiff) and his present wife, hence his demand for GH¢10,000 damages from the defendant.

One of the defendant’s witnesses, Reverend Awinzo also a Pastor of the Assemblies of God Church, who testified, told the court that because Madam Akupoka once worked under him for many years, he had nothing to say and further said that he could not even remember what exactly transpired between them (ie plaintiff and defendant) at the church premises on June 11, 2013.

Even though the defendant categorically denied ever insulting Mr. Abugri, the presiding judge, Madam Wiredu said: “My opinion about the credibility of this witness (referring to Pastor Awinzo) is that he is not truthful”.

“Witness’s statement that he cannot say anything because the defendant has worked under him for so many years to me, makes the plaintiff’s story more probable than that of the defendant.”

“He cannot say anything not because the defendant did not utter those words but telling the court exactly what happened would be betraying an employee who had served him for so many years.”

“By the fore-going, I have to draw the conclusion that the defendant made the statement complained of by the plaintiff in the presence of the arbitrators,” the judge said.

The judge, however, reduced the damages being sought by plaintiff to GH¢3,000 and awarded GH¢500 cost against Madam Akupoka.

As contained in her judgement, Madam Wiredu said: “In the instant action, plaintiff said he has lost one marriage as a result of this same issue and if nothing is done about it, he will not be able to salvage his present marriage.”

“That, he is no more enjoying his marriage as before is clear, the plaintiff has been affected by the defamatory words spoken by the defendant and considering the state of the relationship that existed between the plaintiff and his wife and the present state of affairs between them to the extent that plaintiff’s wife is threatening divorce, I enter judgement in favour of the plaintiff.”

“The defendant is to pay damages of GH¢3000 to the plaintiff and Cost of GH¢500 for the plaintiff”.

By Castro Zangina-Tong 

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