A Ghanaian Lawyer domiciled in the United States of America, Prof Stephen Kweku Asare has not only described the sentencing of Mugabe Maase, Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn to four months in prison each and a fine of GHC10,000 by the Supreme Court as barbaric, but is also asking President John Mahama to cure what he describes as “Judiciary arbitrariness” by invoking his powers under Article 72.
The court, chaired by Justice Sophia Akuffo also fined Network Broadcasting GH30,000 to be paid by Thursday or serve a one-month jail term.
Mugabe, Alistair and Ako Gunn were found guilty of contempt charges by the Supreme Court for making comments on Montie FM’s ‘Pampaso’ programme on Thursday, June 27, 2016, deemed to be threats to the lives of the Supreme Court judges.
In a short piece posted on his Facebook page, the US Professor described the court’s ruling as “barbaric” and one that “completely undermines executive power and the Constitution.”
According to him, what the accused persons were taken through by the Supreme Court does not constitute fair trial because the judges were their “own prosecutor, police, investigator, juror and judge in a barbaric trial that has no appellate process.”
Prof. Kweku Asare argued that Article 72 of the Constitution was created to give the President of Ghana powers to cure abuses. He, therefore, called on President Mahama to invoke it to signal to the judiciary that they cannot subvert the Constitution – Article 72 of Ghana’s Constitution states that;
72. (1) The President may, acting in consultation with the Council of State
(a) grant to a person convicted of an offence a pardon either free or subject to lawful conditions; or
(b) grant to a person a respite, either indefinite or for a specified period, from the execution of punishment imposed on him for an offence; or
(c) substitute a less severe form of punishment for a punishment imposed on a person for an offence; or
(d) remit the whole or part of a punishment imposed on a person or of a penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to Government on account of any offence.
(2) Where a person is sentenced to death for an offence, a written report of the case from the trial judge or judges, together with such other information derived from the record of the case or elsewhere as may be necessary shall be submitted to the President.
(3) For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that a reference in this article to a conviction or the imposition of a punishment, penalty, sentence or forfeiture includes a conviction or the imposition of a punishment, penalty, sentence or forfeiture by a court-marital or other military tribunal.
Below is the full text of what Prof. Kweku Asare posted on his Facebook page
“The President must arrest this judicial arbitrariness by invoking his power under Article 72.
The court’s barbaric posture, no doubt motivated by the unconscionable comments of the Muntie gang, completely undermines executive power and the Constitution.
Even someone who commits mass murder is entitled to a fair trial at a trial defended by competent lawyers and guaranteed an appellate process.
It is abuse of judicial power for the court to act as its own prosecutor, police, investigator, juror and judge in a barbaric trial that has no appellate process and that sends a man to jail for 4 months.
The pardon power was created to arrest such abuses and the president must lead to send the clearest signal to the Judiciary that they cannot subvert the Constitution.