Full transcript: As Ken Agyapong’s lawyer banters judge in contempt case

The Assin Central MP, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong has pleaded not guilty in his contempt case. 

He has been charged with insulting a judge, scandalising the court and bringing the name of the court into disrepute.

“Are you guilty or not guilty,” the presiding judge quizzed.

The Assin Central legislator who was on his feet took a deep breath and boldly said: “I am not guilty, my Lord”.

After his plea, the controversial, tough-talking lawmaker had his moment of discomfort as the tape containing the alleged contemptuous commentary was played. The legislator could not watch the screen. He kept his head down. The bare floor became more attractive. But the spectators in the packed courtroom kept their eyes on the screen with some shaking their heads as the MP rambled on.

The court’s decision to air the video generated a heated banter between the presiding judge, justice Amos Wuntah Wuni [AWW] and counsel for the MP, Kwame Gyan.

Here are excerpts of the exchanges between the two.

AWW: Learned lead Counsel for the third defendant was at one time the legal specialist at the Ministry of Land and Forestry. Indeed he led a team of selected lawyers from the land centre agency to prepare and draft the land bill. I have had the good fortune to represent the office and we have an excellent relationship, however, that would not influence me. I will live up to the judicial oath I swore before his excellency the President and the Almighty God.

KG: The sentiments expressed by his lordship are accurate. In the light of that, we would conduct the case with the utmost respect subject to rules of due process. On the last adjourned date, after a brief spell of legal argument, we are before you today [Friday] subject to further directions from the bench.

AWW: Learned lead counsel, your composure and respect for the bench is admirable. Having said that you may proceed and tell us how you intend to grow today’s business.

KG: On the last adjourned date, we brought to your attention that we have filed an application at the apex court for prohibition, filed on August 17, 2020. On September 22, we filed a petition before his lordship, the Chief Justice, which has been served to the CJ and receipt has been duly acknowledged by the secretariat of his Lordship. We would want to find out if your lordship has received a copy of the said petition.

AWW: I am in receipt of a note written by the hand of the CJ substituting petition by Kennedy Ohene Agyapong. In the note, the Lord CJ requested me to comment on the petition by way of reply. On September 24, I wrote my comment to the CJ. It has been lodged, the secretary has signed for it, and I believe my Lord is in receipt of my reply to the petition.

KG: Subsequently, we have also filed before the court, a motion of notice, praying for stay of the on-going proceedings. It is our very humble submission the process application has been field and served to this court on September 24, 2020. From all indications from the bench, the lord CJ is seized with the matter and has not yet communicated his decision to the petitioner or to my lord. In the circumstance, we submit that my lord be guided by Judicial oath and Article 296 of the constitution.

We want to conduct the case in accordance with due process and with respect, we submit you to allow the process to be buttressed by the applications. We want to remind my lord there is a pending application before the Supreme Court by way of judicial review seeking prohibition as well as certification to quash my Lord’s order.

And my lord from the discourse we had regarding jurisprudence of Article 132, we still submit that my Lord may halt proceeding at the right time. If we may have to come back, we would come back on the same spirit and goodwill to continue.

AWW: At the last sitting, the court ruled decisively that unless there is an order from the Supreme Court regarding the application for prohibition. The proceeding herein will continue. On the question of application for stay of proceedings filed on September 24, 2020, and served in court on the same day, with the oath of proof and affidavit of service attached…these are my comments.

The said application came to my attention at 4 pm, when [I was] leaving [the] office. I am aware of it. In spite of the application, I am fortified by the Supreme Court decision reported in Republic versus High Court Commercial Division Tamale that unless restrained or prevented by any law or rule of practice, a High Court judge could not be denied to hear a case or proceeding the way and manner it deems fit. Therefore, the bare fact that an application for stay has been filed did not operate as an automatic stay of proceedings.

KG: I am proceeding on the assumption that it is my lord’s desire to proceed notwithstanding the application filed before the SC and the petition to the CJ. My lord, the Supreme Court can at any time give us an application for us to test the law. We want to test the law on two propositions: one, whether my lord, could still proceed notwithstanding a petition pending before the CJ, and two, whether my lord could proceed when before the very same Land Court 12 when there is an application seeking to stay the proceeding.

AWW: By law, the provision in Article 129 (3) is very clear and the keyword in the said article is MAY, in fact, it reads, the court will proceed as the SC has not departed from the decision in Ex-parte Daniel’s case.

KG: We want my lord to seek a certified copy of the transcript of what allegedly aired on NET 2 and Oman FM. This transcript is what is the basis of the proceeding and my lord’s order categorically makes reference to what allegedly transpired on NET 2TV and Oman FM on September 2, 2020. It is our submission that is fair for a formal request to go to the TV station for production and delivery to the honourable court.

KG: May your lordship procure the original transcript on what was aired on NET 2 and Oman FM.

AWW: The broadcast on NET 2 aired on Sept 2, 2020, are available on YouTube and therefore, this court has obtained a copy which we intend to play for the court to watch and after share with counsel. YouTube being audio or visual, you have an app to listen and watch to see whether the person in the video clip is Kennedy Ohene Agyapong or not.

AWW: In the interest of justice, let the 3rd defendant [Kennedy Agyapong] step forward, so we can see whether what [is] on YouTube was what was said on September 2, 2020.

KG: We are all trying to advance the cause of justice. Evidence should be procured from the 3rd defendant that is Net 2 TV broadcast.

AWW: The evidence before the court put on YouTube will be played in court and the transcription of the video handed over to the counsel for the 3rd defendant.

KG: Even under the electronic Communication Act section 6, my lord has to make a formal application to YouTube because it has a massive disclaimer regarding things flooding its platform. I do not think it is fair for me to subject my client to this process. I am at a loss as to whether we sitting here can rely on the information on YouTube. We cannot vouch for the integrity of the information on the YouTube platform because of the disclaimer I mentioned.

AWW: The information on YouTube was not put there by YouTube itself. The information was there in respect to the statements made by the third defendant. Being visual and audio, the third defendant can be seen by all reasonable persons. Can the third defendant come forward to take his plea before the video is played.

(Kennedy Agyapong steps forward and the court clerk reads out the facts of the case)

AWW: Having heard the facts on the charge sheet, are you guilty or not guilty.

KA: Not guilty my lord.

(Silence as Kennedy Agyapong walks back to his seat)

KG: My Lord, we were not even told what charges my client is responding to before he took his plea. Let it be on record.

AWW: Indeed, that is true, my learned colleague and I apologise. Your client can retake his plea if that’s alright.

KG: That’s alright, my Lord, I just want to have that on record.

AWW: Can we play the video now

(Silence as court plays video recording of Kennedy Ohene Agyapong)

After playing the video, Justice Wuni said the transcription and the content of the video would be made available to the counsel for the accused person.

He then adjourned the case to Monday, September 28.

1 Comment
  1. Anonymous says

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