Prof Asare To SC Judges: Don't Fuel "Engine Of Rumour-Mongering"…I Only "Petitioned Chief Justice"
Professor Kweku Asare has challenged the panel of judges hearing Ghana’s Election Petition at the Supreme Court, to mention names of persons they claimed are writing letters to the court against the acceptable practice.
Professor Kweku Asare, has stated, the publication he authored on the ongoing Election Petition, was a formal petition he wrote to the Chief Justice and not an ordinary letter to the panel of judges hearing the case.
On Wednesday, the Court hearing the Petition challenging the election of John Mahama as president revealed that, “highly-placed” members of the society were writing to the court – something that is also contemptuous.
Presiding judge of the panel of judges, William Atuguba did not reveal names of these letter writers but the rumour mill pointed fingers at Dr. Arthur Kobina Kennedy of the New Patriotic Party and Ghanaian Professor, Kweku Asare.
Dr. Arthur Kennedy on Wednesday expressed his surprise that the judges should find contemptuous, his open letter to the court published in media outlets.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Newsfile via skype from his base in the USA, Professor Asare challenged the court to release names of suspected letter writers.
He said “if the court finds it necessary to announce that people have been writing to the justices, then the court should name these people and release the said letters for public vetting otherwise, we get into an arena of speculating”.
He said the Supreme Court is a court of record and need not fuel the “engine of rumour-mongering”.
He clarified that his, was not a letter but a formal petition to the court to take judicial notice.
This, he says was entirely different from writing a letter. But he wondered how even writing a letter to a judge can be contemptuous.
He explained that if it was an ex-parte communication, it would have been clearly unacceptable. Ex-parte is when a party to the hearing of a case or a petition such as Dr. Mamudu Bawumia, second petitioner or President John Mahama first respondent writes to the court, he explained.
He says India is encouraging people to write to Justices in an attempt to demystify the court.
He also raised questions about where the Supreme Court got its original jurisdiction to hear criminal cases, suggesting that it came from the people.
He weighed into the 10-day sentencing of Ken Kuranchie managing editor of Daily Searchlight for contempt.
He referred to Article 162(4) which guarantees the Freedom and Independence of the Media. It states
(4) Editors and publishers of newspapers and other institutions of the mass media shall not be subject to control or interference by Government, not shall they be penalized or harassed for their editorial opinions and views, or the content of their publications.
In view of this provision, he wondered why the managing editor had been punished.