Woyome’s contempt case against NPP’s Anthony Karbo and three other media outlets has been dismissed by the Appeal Court!
The application made by businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome against NPP’s Anthony Karbo and three other media outlets over alleged defamation bothering around the ongoing GHC51 million judgement debt case has been thrown out by the Appeal Court on the grounds that the contempt case proceedings is not within the court’s jurisdiction.
The respondents in Woyome’s contempt case include: Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr., Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper; Anthony Karbo, Deputy Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP); Despite Group of Companies, operators of Peace FM; Multimedia Group Limited, operators of Joy FM, Omni Media Limited, and Citi FM.
Alfred Woyome had accused the above mentioned individuals and groups of making certain comments in relation to the judgement debt case on some media platforms which are considered to have tarnished his image. The suit followed High Court’s rule on the GHC51 million judgement case which saw the businessman acquitted of criminal charges.
Lawyers for the defendants had argued that the Appeal Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case. They also argued that if there is any court that should hear the defamation suit, it should be the High court who originally initiated hearing of the application.
On the contrary, Counsel for Woyome, David Annan had earlier argued that the Court of Appeal has jurisdiction because the statements that amounted to the contempt were made after Woyome’s acquittal from the same court.
However, the court upheld the opinion of the defendants, striking out the suit. The Appeal Court noted that while it had jurisdiction to hear the matter, the case should have started at the High Court. In addition, they awarded Woyome a fine of GHC9,000.
The court also effected some adjustments on the contempt application, pointing out the conventional rules for joining the Despite group of companies and others to the application since they were corporate bodies. According to the court, where a contempt is against a corporate body, the directors of those companies are supposed to be cited for contempt and not the companies. This is because contempt can only be committed by persons and not institutions.