August 12, 2013

Abuakwa South Legislator, Samuel Atta-Akyea says he is a “very serious lawyer” who knows his stuff and so should be spared criticism concerning Daily Searchlight Managing Editor Ken Kuranchie’s imprisonment for contempt.

“Everybody who knows me knows me as a very serious lawyer,” he told XYZ News on Sunday.

The lawyer-MP’s riposte follows a counsel given to the General Secretary of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, to not hire the lawmaker as defense counsel if he is to avoid possible imprisonment over his contempt of court hearing, scheduled for this week.

A member of the governing National Democratic Congress’ communication team, Prince Derrick Adjei, offered the counsel when he appeared as a guest on Radio XYZ’s news analysis programme “The Analyst’ on Saturday August 10, 2013. Mr. Derrick Adjei fears the Abuakwa South Legislator could mess up Sir John’s defense and possibly worsen his case.

“I hope that if he takes a lawyer, he does not go for Atta-Akyea because if he does, and he goes the way Ken Kuranchie goes, that will be a very sad situation for the NPP,” Mr. Derrick Adjei advised.

Mr Atta-Akyea, however, defended his representation of Ken Kuranchie saying: “What happened happened. I run my commentary sufficiently. What I didn’t believe in I said it. They should go and get the best lawyer they believe is the best; let him go and bow down to the Judges for the man to walk free. “It’s up to them. If you have a very very good lawyer – as to who a good lawyer is, it is up to people to judge – then you go and go and beg and you go home [then] get one like that and go”.

The MP and Yaw Owusu Addo represented the Daily Searchlight Managing Editor when he got summoned for publishing contemptuous comments concerning the election petition case, just as the NPP General Secretary and one of the party’s Communicators, Hopeson Adorye, have been found to have done.

Mr. Kuranchie ended up serving a 10-day sentence after the Tuesday July 2, 2013 hearing. Some pundits, including Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jr, blamed Mr. Kuranchie’s imprisonment on the posture of his lead Counsel, Samuel Atta-Akyea.

As far as Mr. Pratt was concerned, Ken Kuranchie was misled by his lawyers. He said on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana programme the day after the contempt hearing that: “…I don’t think he got the best of legal advice”. According to him, “any lawyer with a passing knowledge of the laws of contempt and given the atmosphere in the Court and so on, ought to have realised that he needed to [have] conduct[ed] himself in a certain way”.

Ken Kuranchie, when he appeared before the nine-member-panel of Justices, attempted explaining himself to the Court and ended up engaging the bench in a back-and-forth argument.

He also repeatedly gave conditional apologies despite promptings by the Court to either render an unqualified and unreserved apology or stand his ground that he was right and the Court was wrong.

His posture was perceived as belligerent and unremorseful by the Court and so was given 10-days.

Mr. Kuranchie’s episode with the Bench followed an attempt by his Lead Counsel to extract clarifications from the Bench about the nature of offense of his client.

His imprisonment was in connection with a front page publication by his newspaper which questioned the basis of the Court’s invitation of Deputy Communications Director of the main opposition New Patriotic Party, Sammy Awuku, for describing the Bench as “hypocritical and selective”.

Another Contemnor, Stephen Atubiga was given a lesser sentence of 3 days in prison for vowing on radio that President John Mahama and the governing National Democratic Congress will not hand over power even if the Court ordered so at the end of the election petition hearing.