Pioneer Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu has commented on the recent dismissal of a defamation suit brought against Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong.
The suit was brought by investigative journalist and lawyer Anas Aremeyaw Anas who was seeking damages to the tune of 25 million cedis.
Amidu in a lengthy analysis after reading the 64-paged ruling made copious remarks about the decision touching early on on the manner in which Anas went about filing the case and choosing to give evidence.
He observed how Anas “knowingly and voluntarily caused his action to be commenced by one Listowell Bukarson on behalf of Anas A. Anas as the plaintiff” via a power of attorney authorizing Bukarson to bring the action in the name of the plaintiff, Anas A. Anas on 18 June 2018.
Sequel to the filing, the writ of summons was amended on 20 November 2018 after the Agyapong had filed his statement of defence on 13 November 2018. The Plaintiff then replied on 21 January 2019 to close the pleadings.
Amidu said whiles he appreciated the legality of the route that Anas chose to file his case, “The question is whether the attorney can testify on behalf of the plaintiff on matters which are not within his personal knowledge,” the piece read in part.
He, however, observed that the decision by Anas to use his a surrogate to give evidence showed that he was really not ready to speak to the issues and to be cross examined in his own case.
“Did the attorney see or witness the transactions alleged? As far as the requirement that he should testify about what he actually did see or heard is concerned, the attorney could not testify about what the plaintiff himself witnessed or heard. The rule against admissibility of hearsay evidence is statutory.
“Anas A. Anas, the plaintiff put himself in a situation of being incapable of giving relevant and primary evidence in person and be cross-examined because he lives in the fear of his own shadow as an anti-corruption entrepreneur and not as a genuine anti-corruption crusader.
“Anas A. Anas thus lost the only opportunity to publicly tell the court his version of the facts within his personal knowledge and to be cross-examined to establish his credibility. Genuine anti-corruption crusaders do not hide their faces behind masks,” he stressed.
Amidu’s writeup tited: “SCANDALIZING THE COURT BY COHORTS OF ANTI-CORRUPTION ENTERPRENUERS AS A RESULT OF THE ANAS A. ANAS v KENNEDY AGYEPONG JUDGMENT IS DANGEROUS FOR GHANA’S DEMOCRACY: BY MARTIN A. B. K. AMIDU,” went on to touch on other issues about the ruling and the trial judge as well as copious critique of how civil society and political actors have made questionable comments on same.
Anas vs. Ken Agyapong defamation case
An Accra High Court on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, struck out a defamation suit brought by investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas against Assin Central Member of Parliament, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong.
The plaintiff, filed the case in 2018, seeking among other reliefs monetary damages to the tune of GH¢25 million.
However, the court presided by Justice Eric Baah despite finding various claims made by the defendant against the plaintiff as potentially defamatory, ruled that the comments were factual and fair.
The court subsequently dismissed the suit and awarded the defendant a sum of 50,000 Ghana cedis to cover his legal costs.
The MP has subsequently referred to the ruling as a victory for straight talk over investigative terrorism.
The journalist also expressed grave misgivings about the ruling describing it in part as a travesty of justice. He, has also confirmed that his legal team will file an appeal, stressing that his fight against corruption will continue unabated.