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General News of Wednesday, 24 August 2016


Montie pardon was done to correct judicial error - Lawyer

A private legal practitioner based in the United States, Prof. Kwaku Asare has explained that the Montie trio were not jailed for threatening the lives of the Supreme Court (SC) judges but for scandalizing and lowering their authority.

Speaking in an interview with Kwabena Agyapong, host of Eboboba on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, the renowned lawyer said the court erred in its ruling by sentencing the trio.

According to him, the judges could not have acted as complainant, an investigator, and a prosecutor in a matter involving alleged threats on their lives.

Lawyer Asare said in dealing with the matter properly, there should have been a complainant whose complainant would institute and an investigation and prosecution by the appropriate institutions. He indicated that the Attorney-General should have taken the case up.

''The trio were not sentenced for threatening the lives of the judges but rather, they were jailed for scandalizing the court. The court held that, the convicts had defied its authority because they suspected the judgement would go in favour of the plaintiffs. These were the statements on which the trio were jailed. The alleged threat was not dealt with.''

He restated that, the conviction was problematic considering the way and manner the trail was handled.

He noted further that the power to prosecute and investigate has been given to the Executive while the judiciary, is mandated to adjudicate, while the power to make laws is with the legislator.

Considering the speed at which the convicts were jailed, it made an appeal of the case difficult since it was the apex court that trialed the case.

By law, every person convicted for crime has an automatic right to appeal. And so by engaging in some process to deny that right, then it means that, the court has turned itself into a legislator and under that law, there is no appellate process. All these are against due process, and fail trail and that violates Article 17 of the constitution. And that is why i have always held the view that, the court erred in its ruling.''

He recounted how in 2013 he petitioned the Attorney-General over the similar incident during the election petition. He maintained that, the judges overstepped their boundaries hence the only way to correct the errors, was through a presidential pardon, hence it is unfortunate for people to attack President Mahama for granting the remission.

Lawyer Asare said, the sentencing was a gross miscarriage of justice and in his view, they took the opportunity to exercise the error from the election petition since they were not checked.

Finding of the directors and owners of the station he added, was also worrying and unfortunate. ''The framers of the constitution were wise in separating the powers of the arms of government to make checks and balances. The liberty of someone was at stake and that is why the constitution mandates the president to grant pardon under Article 72 of the constitution to correct some of these errors.''