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General News of Monday, 18 July 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Montie FM owners, directors face prison term or fine – Frank Davies

Legal practitioner, Frank Davies, foresees a possible prison term or a fine for owners and directors of Montie FM after the Supreme Court found the station and three others guilty of contempt.

Mr Davies says so far as the apex court hauled them before it, along with the host of a political talk show and two panelists for contempt, they are also liable for sentencing next week.

Citing a precedent, he said the late Justice Akufo-Addo once hauled all the Professors of the University of Ghana before him after some Professors published contemptuous articles against the court.

He said the Professors were of the view that publishers of the article are separate from the University, but the late Justice hauled all of them to Court for sentencing.

Some legal practitioners are of the view that the directors and not the owners of Montie FM – which is aligned to the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) – should be the ones facing contempt charges along with the three individuals.

At the Supreme Court Monday, lawyers introduced, Edward Addo, Kwesi Kyei Atuah, Kwaku Bram-Dabi as Montie FM directors. Mr Harry Zakkour told the court he only owns the frequency but does not play a role in daily programming on the local language station.

Mr Egbert Faible, for instance, thinks it is strange that the court insists that owners must be liable for contempt charges.

He said it is common knowledge among all lawyers that a company is separate and distinct from its owners, and hence when a company is purported to have done something, the persons who are answerable are the directors who we sometimes describe as the ‘directing minds’.

However, speaking on Top Story on Joy FM, Monday, Mr Davies said “the discretion is entirely theirs [Judges]. They can decide to convict them [owners], they can decide to fine them.”

The Supreme Court presided over by Justice Sophia Akuffo on Monday found the owners, directors, a host and two panelists guilty for scandalizing the court, defying and lowering the authority of the court and bringing it into disrepute.

Two radio panelists, Godwin Ako Gunn and Alistair Nelson were cited for inciting hatred against and threatening to kill, justices of the Supreme Court.

The host of the programme on which the comments were made, Salifu Maase, known as Mugabe according to the court failed to restrain the panelists from making the contemptuous comments.

The Court has set July 27 for sentencing.

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