A Law on contempt is not needed in Ghana – Justice Kwofie

Justice Henry A. Kwofie
Justice Henry A. Kwofie

Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie, a Justice of the Appeals Court, says, Ghana does not need a law on contempt as it is in the United Kingdom.

According to him, very few contempt cases come before the courts across the country in a year.

Justice Kwofie made the statement on Wednesday when he appeared before Parliament’s Appointments Committee to be vetted for his nomination to the Supreme Court.

Mr Francis Xavier Sosu, a National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina and a member of the Appointments Committee inquired of him if Ghana needed a contempt Act by which the law would regulate the remit within which the courts exercised its discretion of holding persons for contempt of court right from the lower courts to the Supreme Court.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo nominated three persons for appointment as Justices of the Supreme Court in November.

The nominees included Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie, a Justice of the Appeals Court; Justice Yaw Asare Darko, a Justice of the Appeals Court and Justice Richard Adjei-Frimpong, also a Justice of the Appeals Court.

The nominations were made by the President in line with Article 144(2) of the 1992 Constitution, subject to the advice of the Judicial Council and in consultation with the Council of State.

Justice Kwofie said: “Mr Chairman, but in all honesty, how many cases come before the courts across the country in a year? Very few and what people make so much noise about is the contempt involving the media. It seems to me that is where the problem is. And I don’t think the country needs a law on contempt.”

He explained that people mostly attributed contempt to media houses and Journalists being out of line with their profession.

“But Judges are hindered, the only power a judge has is not something we use every day.

“I don’t even remember the number of years I have sat as a judge that I have convicted someone of contempt, and I know a lot of my colleagues have the same experience,” he said.

Justice Kwofie, therefore urged the citizenry to be able to control their emotions and language by recognising that the Judges were also human beings.

After the vetting, the Committee, which is chaired by Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, the Second Deputy Speaker and the New Patriotic Party MP of Bekwai is expected to submit a report to the plenary for consideration.

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