The Supreme Court has consolidated the three separate suits praying for Montie trio rearrest.
According to a Daily Guide report, the Supreme Court on Tuesday, 14th February ordered the merging of the three suits challenging the legality of the pre-mature freedom granted three Montie Fm radio presenters – Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn and Salifu Maase aka Mugabe.
The suits which were filed by three legal practitioners – Nana Asante Bediatuo, Elekplem Agbameva and Alfred Tuah Yeboah are all asking that the apex court declare as null and void, the presidential pardon granted the three Montie Fm panelists by former President John Mahama while he was in office in 2016.
A seven-member panel of judges presided over by Justice Sophia Adinyira, stated that the issues raised in the various cases are identical. According to Justice Adinyira, the three plaintiffs are all seeking an interpretation of Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution. It is in view of this that the cases were consolidated. The judges therefore instructed the parties to file their agreed memorandum of issues.
The court further directed the parties to contact the Court Registrar for a date to be fixed for definite hearing.
The Supreme Court stated deliberating on suits praying it to order the re-arrest of the Montie trio in January. The case proceedings commenced on Thursday January 12th. The court had earlier granted a petition by the Attorney General’s Department to be given 7 days to file a response to the suits filed in September, 2016. After the AG’s response, the court registrar would then fix a date for the hearing of the cases.
The Montie Fm trio; panelists Alistair Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn, and Host of the ‘Pampaso’ political show, Salifu ‘Mugabe’ Maase, issued death threats to Supreme Court judges during a radio talk show on the 29th of June, 2016. They were subsequently sentenced to a four-month imprisonment at the Nsawam Major Prisons Facility after being convicted of criminal contempt on July, 27.
However, the three were granted pardon on 22nd August, after they had served a little over three weeks in jail, by then President Mahama, following their heart-breaking appeals for leniency as well as petitions by their supporters.
But a lot of Ghanaians who never appreciated Mahama’s action hurled criticisms upon criticisms at the then president for pardoning the trio. Among them are the legal practitioners who never stopped at criticisms, but went on to file suits at the apex court in September, 2016, challenging the trio’s pardon. The legal practitioners are of the opinion that there are no constitutional provisions for the president to grant pardon to the contemnors; hence their prayer for the Montie trio rearrest.
Nana Asante Bediatuo who is one of them, and currently Executive Secretary to President Nana Addo, is now seizing the opportunity of Mahama’s defeat, to push for the Montie trio rearrest. According to Asante Bediatuo, the president has the power to pardon people convicted for criminal offences but does not have same to pardon convicts of criminal contempt.
Speaking to a Joy News correspondent after the hearing, Fosua Amagyei who is counsel for Nana Asante Bediatuo, said that if the court rules in their favour, it means the three pardoned contemnors will be sent back to prison, to complete their sentence.