Contempt of Court: Kuranchie, Atubiga jailed as Boahen escapes punishment

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Ken-KuranchieThe Supreme Court on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 sentenced two persons, who were cited last week for contempt of court, to a total of thirteen days in jail.

Managing Editor of the Daily Searchlight Ken Kuranchie was sentenced to 10 days in jail after the Court cited his rubbishing of its action against a Deputy Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Samuel Awuku, over contemptuous comments.

Mr Kuranchie’s front page editorial on the June 27, 2013 edition of his newspaper is said to have questioned the decision of the judges against Mr Awuku, who apologised for his action on Peace FM.

According to the president of the panel hearing the election petition, Justice William Atuguba, Mr Kuranchie appeared not remorseful of that front page comment.

"Ken Kuranchie had hardly shown any remorse. We were left in no doubt that he understood those parts of his publication which impute deliberate selectivity and hypocrisy with regard to our remarks about Daily Guide and Sammy Awuku's sanction. Ken Kuranchie clearly says that Sammy Awuku was right in describing us as hypocritical and selective, a thing Sammy Awuku himself fully retracted and apologised to this Court. If this is not defiance of the authority of this court and the due administration of justice, we do not know what else it can be. We have no doubt that the said statements are made with intent by him to defy the authority of this Court and the due administration of justice. Accordingly, we find him guilty of a criminal contempt of this court and sentence him to 10 days imprisonment," Justice Atuguba delivered.

Mr Stephen Atubiga’s profuse apology in open court on Tuesday appeared to have extenuated his punishment as he was slapped with a three-day jail sentence.

"Stephen Atubiga has shown thorough remorse having admitted his error readily and started his retractions before his appearance before this Court. Nonetheless, his utterances were very serious. They were intentionally made contemptuously. Accordingly, we find him guilty of criminal contempt and sentence him to three days imprisonment."

Meanwhile, Kwaku Boahen, the Ashanti Region Youth Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), was acquitted after he explained to the Court that the said statements attributed to him in the Statesman newspaper were not made.

He evinced to the Court that the pro-NPP newspaper has since apologized to its readers and him (Kwaku Boahen) over their publication.

“We accordingly dismiss the summons against [Mr Boahen],” Justice Atuguba announced.

The Court has warned persons especially politicians from guiding and guarding their words when they engage in discussions on radio and television and when on political platforms so as not to find themselves on the receiving end of the law.