A lecturer at the University of Ghana, Prof Michael Kpessa Whyte has been convicted for the offence of contempt of court by the Supreme Court.
The Court consequently cautioned and discharged him.
This was after the member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) pleaded guilty to the charge levelled against him.
The case bordered on a series of tweets made by Prof Whyte on May 19, when the Supreme Court ordered Parliament to expunge the name of Mr. Gyakye Quayson from it’s records as a Member of Parliament because he was wrongfully elected.
Kpessa Whyte wrote on Twitter: “The highest Court of the Land has been turned into ‘Stupid Court’.
“They have succeeded in turning a Supreme Court into a Stupid Court. Common – sense is now a scarce commodity.”
“A major element in the death of democracies is partisanship in the delivery of justice. Our judges need lessons in political philosophy and ethics.
“Time will tell”.
He was ordered to appear at the Apex Court to show cause why he should not be cited for contempt of Court for scandalising the Supreme Court, bringing into ridicule the dignity, respect, and stature of the Supreme Court and Inciting prejudice against the Supreme Court.
His tweet was a reaction to the Supreme Court’s judgment that ordered Parliament to remove the name of NDC MP James Gyakye Quayson from its records due to procedural breaches during his nomination and election in 2020.
Dr. Kpessa-Whyte later clarified that he did not intend to scandalise the Supreme Court and apologised accordingly.
He stated that he had no reason to slander the court and acknowledged any pain or discomfort his tweets may have caused the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court, and the entire judiciary.
“Please permit me to state unequivocally that I have no reason to slander our Supreme Court, and I hereby sincerely apologise unreservedly for any pain and discomfort my tweets may have caused the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court, and the entire judiciary.
Prof Whyte on Tuesday, May 30, pleaded “not guilty with an explanation initially. Presiding Judge Justice Mariama Owusu asked him to state his plea clearly.
Prof Whyte: “My Lords. Respectfully. I plead not guilty. Guilty with explanation.”
Justice Owusu: “Your plea needs to be clear”
Prof Whyte: “Guilty my Lords.”
He was thus convicted on his own plea.
His legal team led by Dr. Justice Srem Sai then proceeded to plead with the court for mercy.
He said Prof Whyte had since receiving the summons caused publications to be made apologising to the Court.
“We pray for the mitigation of sentence. My lord, immediately the matter was brought to his attention, he did issue a clear, unreserved apology which we have accordingly brought to the court’s registry, addressed to the acting Chief Justice.
“He has taken steps to have the apology published on the front page of the Ghanaian Times, an apology to the court.
“It is our humble prayer, in all humility, we plead for mercy. We are also undertaking that such a sad and regrettable occurrence will not ever again. We commit to defending the integrity of this honourable Court,” Dr Sai stated.
The case was heard by Justices Mariama Owusu, Lovelace Johnson, Prof Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Samuel Asiedu, and George Koomson.
The Supreme Court has cautioned and discharged lecturer at University of Ghana and member of the NDC Prof. Michael Kpessah-Whyte after taking in his apology and plea for mercy by his council.#MiddayLive pic.twitter.com/UfmkWMXJJJ
— #TV3GH (@tv3_ghana) May 30, 2023
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