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25.03.2009 Crime & Punishment

Archer files motion to set aside judgement in defamation case

By gna

Focal Media Limited, publishers of the Enquirer, a tri-weekly newspaper and its Editor, Mr Raymond Archer, have filed a motion on notice to set aside the interlocutory judgement entered against them in a defamation suit before the Fast Track High Court.

Mr George Owusu, Country Manager of Kosmos Energy, took Mr Archer to court for linking him to a drug trade associated with Eric Amoateng, a former Member of Parliament, who is serving a jail term in the US for drug.

In an order to seek leave of the court to set aside the interlocutory judgement, Mr Archer said he had been responding promptly to defamation suit against him and his company.

Mr Tony Lithur, who represented Mr Archer, informed the court that they filed the motion on Tuesday.

He recounted the lapses in serving Mr Archer with the court processes.

According to him, his client would not have been indolent, had the court processes come to his attention.

In his affidavit, Mr Archer said Focal Media had a defence to the suit adding that the publication was derived from a report by the Narcotics Control Board.

In the said report the name George Owusu was featured prominently and the company would tender the report in evidence during the trial and lead evidence in support of the contents of the report if the motion was granted.

He said investigations leading to the report indicated that a certain George Owusu was a conduit used by Amoateng and his accomplices in the trafficking of the drugs between Ghana and United States.

According to Mr Archer, the report showed further that “there was a reverse export of ceramic from the United States into Ghana by a certain George which appeared to suggest that the process may have been used by Eric Amoateng to launder the proceeds of the drug trade into the country.

“The link between Eric Amoateng and George Owusu was not made by “The Enquirer” but by the Narcotics Control Board.”

An Accra Fast Track High Court on March 19 entered default judgment against Focal Media and Mr Archer following their failure to enter an appearance in court.

Mr George Owusu, the Country Manager of Kosmos Energy, took Mr Archer to court for liking him to a drug trade associated with Amoateng.

The matter was therefore adjourned to today to assess damages.

In the ruling the court said it had studied the affidavit and motion and found out that Mr Archer had failed to enter an appearance within the stipulated time provided under the law.

It therefore granted the relief sought following Mr Archer's failure to enter an appearance.

Some of them include an order for perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their agents, servants, workmen and privies from publishing and writing similar defamatory statements.

Plaintiff is seeking general damages for libel in the two separate publications.

Mr. Egbert Faibille Jnr. represented Mr Owusu.
The case has been adjourned to April 6.
GNA

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