23.02.2006 General News

Court Orders Newspaper to file defence

23.02.2006 LISTEN

Accra Feb. 23, GNA - An Accra High Court on Thursday ordered Western Publication Limited, publishers of the "Daily Guide" newspaper and two others to file their statement of defence in a libel suit filed against them by Mr E. T. Mensah, Former Minister of Youth and Sports. Joined in the libel suit are Mrs Gina Ama Blay, Editor of the "Daily Guide" and one Akosua.

The order followed the dismissal of an application to strike the writ and statement of claim filed by the plaintiff.

The Defendants earlier contended that the application could not disclose any reasonable course of action and prayed the Court to strike it out but the Court ruled that the plaintiff had shown reasonable course of action and asked the Defendants to file their defence. The court further awarded cost of two million cedis in favour of the Plaintiff.

Earlier the Defendants had entered a conditional appearance on the basis that the Plaintiff had not disclosed any reasonable course of action.

On August 30, 2005, Western Publications Limited published on the front page of the "Daily Guide" an effigy of Mr Mensah grafted onto the body of a sheep.

According to the Plaintiff's statement of claim, the sheep with the plaintiff superimposed a carton of the President John Agyekum Kufuor engaged in a dialogue.

In the dialogue, President Kufuor was asking "Black, Black, Black Sheep have you any wool? Yes sir! Yes Sir three bags full," with the Plaintiff, Mr Mensah's caricature responding "Mmeeh, Mmeeh." Also in the background was written "Ningo Prampram Bridge." The Plaintiff mentioned that the publication, which had the caricature meant that he was not only sheepish but also foolish and had sycophantic traits hence was unfit to hold any office.

According to the Plaintiff the publication was absolutely false, which unjustifiably libelled him and assailed his character, credit and reputation as a Member of Parliament and a Former Vice Chairman of the National Democratic Congress.

Mr Mensah was, therefore seeking general damages for libel and perpetual injunction restraining the defendants and their agents or servants from printing, circulating further, the libellous material.

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