A fuming Accra lawyer, Egbert Faibille Jnr., has threatened to petition the Chief Justice over what he describes as the "fraudulent bahaviour' of a court clerk in allowing a lawyer who was hitherto not known to the court in a defamation case to adjourn the said case.
According to the incensed lawyer, also the Managing Editor of The Ghanaian Observer, the conduct of the court clerk in calling the case at 9:30 a.m. instead of the scheduled 11:00 a.m. was dubious, questionable and worrying.
Mr. Faibile also took exception to the trial judge, Justice Novisi Aryene's demeanor when she refused to hear the case with the reason that she had earlier on adjourned it, despite persistent pleading for her to rescind her earlier decision.
Last Thursday, the court adjourned the case in question to Wednesday at 11a.m. for the court to assess damages caused to George Owusu, client of Mr Faibile. However, when the case was called yesterday at 11:00 a.m., the judge informed the lawyer and his client that she had already adjourned the case earlier on.
At this juncture, the bewildered lawyer drew the court"s attention to the fact that the lawyer who moved for the adjournment of the case, Tony Lithur, was not known to the court. Mr Faibille said his client had gone through all the procedures of the court only for Mr. Lithur, who he described as 'a stranger and a busy body to the court' to come and cause the adjournment of the case.
He disclosed to the court that he had earlier on met Mr. Lithur at the car park of the court and he (Lithur) had failed to inform him about what he had done. He further stated that he has not been served with the application of Mr. Lithur.
According to Mr. Faibille, the conduct of Mr. Lithur in the matter should be put on record and the necessary action taken against him.
The court, last week Thursday, entered a default judgment in favour of George Owusu, Country Manager of Kosmos Energy against Raymond Archer, Editor in Chief of The Enquirer.
Mr. Owusu had sued Focal Media Limited, publishers of The Enquirer Newspaper and Raymond Archer, Editor-in-Chief for a defamatory story they wrote about him in the Wednesday 26- Thursday 27, 2008 issue of The Enquirer under the headline 'How Kufuor saved the barons who bankrolled him…and scattered NACOB probe'.
Passing judgment, the judge said Raymond Archer had failed to enter appearance within the stipulated time in accordance with the law.
She consequently entered default judgment in favour of George Owusu and adjourned the case to March 25 for assessment of damages.
The court on Monday 16, 2009, passed a similar judgment in favour of Mr. Owusu against Focal Media Limited.
The court then granted an order that Raymond Archer, who was absent and had not filed any appearance in the matter, be served by substitution. Again Thursday when the case was called Mr. Archer failed to turn up, prompting Egbert Faibille, Counsel for the Kosmos Energy boss, to request for a default judgment since the time of entering of appearance has elapsed.
In his statement of claim, Mr. Owusu contended that because of mischief and the fact that the defendants were actuated by malice in their publications, they disregarded part of the NACOB report that states 'in the course of the investigation, a Kan-Dapaah Foundation and the name of one Yaw George Owusu, now identified as the country Manager of Kosmos Energy, a US energy company came up.
Both the foundation and Mr Owusu are however found to be unconnected with this case under investigation. The two George Owusu earlier identified are two different people bearing the same name.'
'By reason of the aforesaid defamatory publications, my reputation as an internationally recognized oil and gas executive, Country Manager of Kosmos Energy, recipient of a medal of the Republic of Ghana and a businessman of no mean standing has been seriously and gravely injured and has suffered and continue to suffer considerable distress, pain and embarrassment,' he stated.
Some of the reliefs Mr George Owusu is seeking from the court are general damages for libel contained in The Enquirer publications and aggravated damages against Raymond Archer following repetition of the said defamatory words by him on Radio Gold in the morning of November 28, 2008.
He is further seeking an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the defendants, whether by themselves, agents, servants, workmen, privies or any of them or otherwise howsoever from writing, publishing and or cause to be publish the said words or similar statements defamatory of plaintiff.
He also seeks costs and any other reliefs as the court deems fit.