Steve Mallory’s application dismissed

The legal tussle between former President Rawlings and the Editor of Africawatch Magazine over claims that he was diagnosed with Parkison’s disease is far from over as an Accra High Court  has dismissed a stay of proceedings application by the applicant.

 The court awarded a cost of GH¢2,000 against the applicant.

Former President Rawlings sued Mr Mallory for defamation and joined General Media Strategic Inc, Liberty Media Consult publishers of the magazine, Baffour Ankomah, Rosemary Ateimo and Lisa Vives as defendants.

Mr Steve Mallory, the Editor of the magazine wanted the court to decline jurisdiction in the case because of a pending appeal at the Court of Appeal.

In his motion on notice filed by his counsel, Ms Haniya Yahaya, the applicant  argued that the rules of court specifically Order 1(2) of C.I 47 shall be defeated if the case is entertained in “this forum”, explaining that the article which is the subject of the present action was published in the United States of America (USA).

It is the plaintiff’s case that courts of the USA was the proper forum to hear the case because both Mr Mallory and the publisher of the article do not live and conduct business in Ghana.

In ruling on the application, Presiding Judge Justice Kweku T. Ackaah-Boafo said the motion was flawed and incompetent.

He said the threshold test for granting a stay of proceedings is a high one, requiring the demonstration of extraordinary or exceptional circumstances, however, the applicant failed to demonstrate special circumstances exist to warrant the grant of the application.

Justice Ackaah-Boafo stated that the applicant’s argument relating to jurisdiction is strange and disingenuous because the applicant, who conceded the court has the requisite jurisdiction to hear the matter, is now contending lack of jurisdiction.   

On claims that General Media Strategic Inc is not a registered Ghanaian business, the judge noted that the magazine provided the Ghana office address of the applicant at page 6 of the magazine published in May 2016.

Making reference to a case law on jurisdiction in the case in which the Supreme Court of Canada  affirmed the decision of British Columbia (Canada) Court of Appeal  in favour of Equustek Solution in   the Google Inc.V Equustek Solutions Inc.(2017) 1 SCR 824, Justice Ackaah-Boafo said, he adopted the decision  albeit persuasive.

In 2016, lawyers for the former President described as blatant falsehood a report in the May edition of the Africawatch Magazine that Mr Rawlings had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

They asked publishers of the monthly magazine, Liberty Media Concepts, to retract the story, apologise with the same prominence given to the story or face legal action.

 “Take notice and notice is hereby given that if you fail to immediately retract the story and apologise for same, legal action shall be taken against you without any further notice to you,” it warned.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while a tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson’s disease, the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.

BY MALIK SULLEMANA

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