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12.03.2006 Crime & Punishment

Court acquits Nwabiagya constituency NPP executive

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Kumasi, March 12, GNA - A Kumasi High Court presided over by Mr Justice J.K. Abrahams on Friday acquitted and discharged the Atwima-Nwabiagya constituency executive of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who were cited for contempt.

In acquitting and discharging them, the court held that the applicants had not been able to prove their case against the respondents.

The court, however, advised both parties in the case to exercise restraint and be very slow in rushing to court at the least opportunity without exhausting all the procedures laid down for the resolution of differences within the party.

"It is good for the court to settle disputes between parties but this must not be done fancifully but with circumspection". Nana Kofi Owusu, the former constituency chairman of the NPP and some others filed a writ at the High Court to commit the respondents to prison for contempt of court.

They were, Ben Oduro Frimpong, Joe Kofi Adu, Jacob Asante, Yaw Adjei Anhwere, J.K. Kwapong, Mike Asamoah Awuku, Linda Yeboah and Peter Asamoah.

The grounds of the application was that the respondents defied the court's ruling of November 2, 2005 which ordered the chairman of the Atwima-Nwabiagya constituency of the NPP to organise and conduct elections within one day.

Failure to do this, the court said, the regional executive of the party should step in to organise the elections to beat the deadline for the submission of the list of delegates who were to attend the national delegates conference in Accra.

The court noted that in accordance with its directive, the constituency NPP conducted elections after the proper structures had been put in place and the respondents were elected into office and that there had been no other elections.

The court further held that though the applicants indicated that there was another election and that the election mentioned in their affidavit in support of the application was not the election that elected the respondents into office, this issue had not been made clear in their affidavit in support of the application. "And no other officers were mentioned as having been elected into office", the court added.

The court pointed out that contempt proceeding was a quasi-criminal matter and therefore the law required that it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

"From the proceedings, I do not see what wrong the respondents have committed in parading themselves as constituency executives of the NPP since they were elected at an election conducted in accordance with the rules of the party".