Ghanaians Cautioned to Desist from making Contemptuous Utterances

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CDS Africa

Administrator . Updated April 17, 2024

Very often in Ghana, cases in Court usually pertaining to popular personalities receive a lot of commentary in the media. As a result, the public and some significant figures of society such as chiefs, politicians, technocrats, experts etc. express their opinions aimed at influencing the court to sway its verdict on the matter in a preferred direction.

The most recent case is the matter of the Republic Vrs. James Gyakye-Quayson, which has received a deluge of commentary from the media, politicians, and the general populace primarily aimed at changing perceptions and influencing the due process of the Court.

It is in this regard that the office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice released a press statement on 4th July 2023 cautioning the entire Ghanaian citizenry to desist from this practice, as it is unlawful and contemptuous.

The release emphasised that no immunity is conferred by a person’s position in Parliament, the Judiciary, Traditional Authority, the Bar, or any official position, from the consequences of an interference in the administration of justice or an attempt to overreach a judgment to be delivered by the court in any matter.

While respecting freedom of speech, the Attorney-General emphasized that recent commentary on high-profile criminal cases exceeds the permissible limits of free speech, interferes with the work of state prosecutors, and puts undue pressure on the courts.

CDS Africa recognises the importance of rule of law in our current democratic dispensation. It is therefore necessary to uphold the integrity of the courts and respect our judicial system as a basic ingredient for the sustenance of our democracy.

We entreat the public to avoid making open verdicts on ongoing cases in court and further appeal to our judiciary and the Attorney General to firmly enforce the penalty of contempt and prosecute individuals or groups who are found culpable.

Lastly, CDS Africa wishes to remind the general public that the matter of contempt or undermining the Courts carries a penalty that ranges from a fine to imprisonment and as such we should be guarded in our commentary on matters in Court.

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CDS Africa

We lead research, advocacy and initiatives to advance democracy and policies to bring about socio-economic development.

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