An Accra High Court has set Friday, November 17, 2023, to pass judgement on a suit filed by multi-award-winning screenwriter and entertainment journalist, Osarfo Anthony against former Back Stars captain, Asamoah Gyan and his manager Samuel Anim Addo.
The journalist (Plaintiff) sued Gyan (1st Defendant) and his manager (2nd Defendant) jointly and severally for malicious prosecution - praying the court to award a cost of GH₵ one million as general damages, legal fees, and any other cost the court deems right against the Defendants.
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In the month of June, 2015, Daily Guide newspaper exclusively broke a story, which claimed that one Sarah Kwabla is pressing rape and sodomy allegations against the famed, former Black Stars captain, Asamoah Gyan, now a retired footballer.
The story, which gained wild national attention, was published by the newspaper without the victim’s (Sarah Kwabla) side of the story. Sarah contacted Osarfo with graphic photos of her bloody butt and thighs, WhatsApp chats with Asamoah Gyan, and Gyan’s voice note -- in which he can be heard -- appealing to the girl not to show any evidence to the public.
Osarfo got in touch with Gyan’s lawyer for Gyan’s side of the story. The lawyer flatly denied Sarah’s allegations. He maintained that Gyan had consensual sex with Sarah. Having had a balanced story, the blog Osarfo worked for, GHBase.com, published series of stories on the rape and sodomy allegation.
One of the handlers in Gyan’s camp named Nii Armah Amarteifio, acting on the instructions of Gyan’s manager, contacted the editor/publisher. Nii pleaded for the stories to be pulled down, and further publications discontinued. The said Nii also assured the publisher that Gyan is prepared to offer financial token to register his appreciation.
On the blind side of Osarfo and his media house, the Gyans had reported them to the police – accusing them of attempting to extort money from Baby Jet. Upon receiving the funds on behalf of the publisher, Osarfo was rounded up by the police.
CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OF JOURNALIST
In the criminal trial titled The Republic vrs. Osarfo Anthony and 3 others, suit number: D2/60/16, Circuit Court 9, Accra, Osarfo was prosecuted for conspiracy to extort and extorting money from Asamoah Gyan. Osarfo’s defense counsel was popular lawyer Maurice Ampaw, and lawyer Lamtiig Apanga for the publisher.
JOURNALIST ACQUITTED AND DISCHARGED
After almost four years (2015-2019) of prosecution, Osarfo was acquitted and discharged on March 20, 2019. According to the ruling of the Circuit Court judge, Her Honor, Afi Agbanu Kudomor (now a High Court judge): “As soon as the complainant reported the conduct of the appellant to the police and a trap was set for him, there was no threat operating on the mind of the complainant which induced him to pay the money.”
Therefore, “1st Applicant cannot be criminally held liable for conspiring with anyone to extort and indeed extorting money from the complainant. Counsel for the accused’s submission of no case to answer on behalf of his clients is upheld. All the Applicants are accordingly acquitted and discharged”
JOURNALIST SUES FOR MALICIOUS PROSECUTION
Osarfo sued Gyan and his manager for malicious prosecution. Osarfo (Plaintiff) avers that:
-- The 1st and 2nd Defendants, to save and preserve their career and reputation, decided to make false allegations against the Plaintiff, and pressed upon the prosecution to prosecute the Plaintiff for an offence that they knew the Plaintiff did not commit.
-- With malice, the Defendants withheld information from the prosecutors which would have ended the prosecution of the Plaintiff and exonerate him but they intentionally failed to do so.
-- The 2nd Defendant intentionally bore false witness against Plaintiff with impunity when at all material times, he knew the testimony and the evidence he was leading were false and without foundation.
RULING ON THE CIVIL CASE
The judge for the case, His Lordship Justice, Dr. Ernest Owusu-Dapaa (Justice of the Court of Appeal) sitting with additional responsibility at the High Court, will be passing his ruling at 10:00 AM in Financial Court 1, High Court, second floor.
Osarfo is represented by Yaw Dankwah, Esq. of Dankwah and Associates (Divine Chambers), while veteran, legal luminary, Alexander Abredu Somuah-Asamoah, Esq. (Appiade Chambers) reps Gyan and his manager. The suit number of the case is GJ/1350/2020.