The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, has pleaded not guilty to contempt of court.
Mr Agyapong, who allegedly scandalised the court by describing a High Court judge with unprintable words, pleaded not guilty to contempt after he was charged for scandalising the court and bringing its name into disrepute.
With his hands behind his back, and wearing a white top with black trousers and glasses to match, the MP said “not guilty.”
The MP took the stand to give his plea after numerous attempts by his legal team for the case to be adjourned, reports Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson, Graphic Online’s court reporter.
Lead counsel for Mr Agyapong, Kwame Gyan, urged the court to halt the case on numerous occasions by giving many reasons to buttress his arguments.
First, he argued that his client had petitioned the Chief Justice over an alleged case of bias on the part of the presiding judge, Justice Amos Wuntah Wuni, and has also filed a judicial review application at the Supreme Court challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.
Counsel further argued that his client had further filed an application for stay of proceedings pending the determination of the case at the Supreme Court
He, therefore, argued that it would be in the interest of justice for the case to be halted for all the three issues he argued to be resolved first.
Case should continue
Justice Wuni, however, ruled on all the submissions made by counsel and held that nothing prevented the court from proceeding with the matter.
On the issue of the stay of proceedings, he held that the filing of a stay of proceedings did not automatically mean a case should be halted.
This, he said, had been the position of the law as held by the Supreme Court.
With regard to the judicial review application, Justice Wuni held that unless the Supreme Court orders him that he had no jurisdiction, he was not bound by any law to halt the case.
On the issue of the petition to the Chief Justice, he ruled that he had already made his reply to the Chief Justice and therefore unless there is a directive from the Chief Justice, nothing stopped him from going ahead.
“Honourable Kennedy Ohene Agyapong step forward and answer the charge against you,” he held, Graphic Online’s Ebo Hawkson reported.
All other attempts by Mr Gyan to have the case adjourned proved futile as the presiding judge insisted that no law prevented him from continuing with proceedings.
Mr Agyapong then took the stand and pleaded not guilty.
The video, which also showed the alleged contemptuous comments made by the MP, was also played in court.
The hearing continues on Monday, September 28, 2020, for the MP to present his defence and subsequently for the court to give its ruling.