Lawyers for the host of Montie FM’s ‘Pampaso’ political show, Salifu Maase, alias Mugabe, and two panelists, Alistair Nelson, and Godwin Ako Gunn, who were handed a four-month prison sentence say they have no plans to seek a review of the ruling
The three were sentenced on Wednesday by the Supreme Court, after they were found guilty of contempt charges brought against them.
This was after they had threatened on radio to kill the judges over their handling of the suit on the credibility of the voters’ register. Speaking to Citi News, one of their lawyers, Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe, said the ruling cannot be challenged since it was not an action that flowed from the Judges’ exclusive jurisdiction. “
This particular position came under the inherent powers of the court. It is not an action that you will say flowed from their exclusive or original jurisdiction under Article 2 or a matter that came so it is an inherent matter that they dealt with so are we now going to invoke the jurisdiction over the inherent powers of the court.
These are grey areas of the law but like I indicated earlier, we want to have a copy of the judgement and once we have it, what we need to do as Counsel is we will advise our clients going forward.”
Montie 3 should have gotten 6-months
Meanwhile, a Former President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Sam Okudjeto, has opined that the trio should have been handed a minimum of six months prison sentence. He argued that the four-month prison sentence is not enough to serve as a deterrent to others.
“If I were there, I would have given them more than that because I am so worried about what I call irresponsibility that has almost crept into political arena whereby people use the television and radio as a platform for vulgar abuse, threats.
That is not what the media is meant for and I think that a lot of characters that are appearing on television should not be allowed.
The station itself should have been punished heavier for them to put down rules, the rules which says that when you come here no abuse, no insult.” “I would have preferred to have given them at least six months and then ban them for a year or two to be of good behavior.
” Lawyer Sam Okudjeto also said it was immaterial that the three had apologized, saying the apology could not have undone the harm their utterances would have caused.
The sentencing has been met with mixed reactions from various stakeholders. While some believe it was a step in the right direction, others say the Judges were to harsh on the trio, and that the ruling could stifle freedom of speech.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) in a statement released on Wednesday said the judgement “sends an unfortunate impression about Ghana, its judiciary and severely dents our enviable reputation as a beacon of democracy on the African continent and beyond.”
It further stated that the “judgement also may undermine our position among countries with the freest media in the world.”
Lawyers to petition Mahama to pardon Montie 3
Meanwhile, lawyers for the three say they will petition President John Dramani Mahama to invoke his prerogative power of mercy for the three, whose sentencing they consider harsh.
In a statement, Mr. George Loh and Nana Ato Dadzie said, “We do admit some of the statements uttered by some of our clients are unacceptable.
We nevertheless consider custodial sentence of four months imposed by the Supreme Court as being excessive and harsh.”
“We also do not believe that citizens of Ghana ought to be committed to prison for infractions on free expression especially in light of the repeal of the criminal libel law.
Our clients have directed us in circumstances to petition His Excellency the President of the Republic to exercise his powers of perogative of mercy under Article 72 of the Constitution of Ghana.”