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Chief Slaps Journalist

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Nii Ayi Bonte also known as Tommy Okine, the Gbese Mantse, yesterday allegedly beat a journalist for trying to take pictures of him at the premises of a Fast Track High Court where he and six others, including Nii Adama Latse, one of the contenders of the Ga Stool, have been dragged to, for contempt, by King Tackie Tawiah III.

Mr. Okine reportedly slapped the journalist, Felix Nyaaba, a reporter with the Enquirer Newspaper, several times, for taking pictures of them.

Afterwards, supporters of Nii Adama Latse, numbering about five, joined the Gbese Mantse and together they beat the journalist till his face became swollen, and later smashed his camera.

The journalist’s attackers, while beating him, demanded to know what he wanted to use their pictures for and not even explanations that he was a journalist could save him as they pounced on him and delivered blows around his eyes and forehead.

Calls for help by some witnesses drew the attention of the police, who came to the rescue of the journalist and managed to retrieve his camera which had virtually broken into pieces.

Fortunately, the journalist managed to capture pictures of some of his assailants.

He is expected to report the matter to the police.

Some court clerks and book sellers around the premises who witnessed the incident said they were surprised that the Gbese Mantse could assault a journalist for just trying to take pictures of him. They noted that he could have just told Felix not to publish his pictures instead of beating him up.

The respondents, Nii Adama Latse (recently enstooled Ga Mantse), Nii Yaote Otoga, Yaya Addey, Sakumo Wolomo, Nii Armakai, David Tackie Commey and the Gbese Mantse have been dragged to court by King Tackie Tawiah, who believes they are in contempt of the Judicial Committee of the Greater Accra House of Chiefs’ decision, after enstooling Adama Latse.

At yesterday’s contempt hearing in a court presided over by Justice NMC Abodakpi, counsel for the applicant, Nii Ayikoi Otoo, reiterated his earlier submission last week that the respondents should be cited for contempt because they had clearly breached the House of Chief’s verdict.

Counsel said the House of Chiefs, on July 18, 2008, decided not to stop King Tawiah from acting as King of Accra so that the status quo could be maintained till the final determination of the chieftaincy dispute, but the respondents went ahead and enstooled Nii Adama Latse.

He said the action of the respondents was likely to lead to chaos and confusion within the Ga state and noted that the respondents were witnesses as well as parties to the chieftaincy dispute before the House of Chiefs.

According to him, the respondents could not pretend they knew nothing about the decision of the House of Chiefs on July 18, 2008, so they were clearly in contempt of court.

Dr. Josiah Aryee, counsel for the respondents, except the Gbese Mantse, told the court that the respondents were not party to the disputes at the House of Chiefs and could therefore not be held for contempt of court.

Dr Aryee said the applicant had not been able to prove that the House of Chiefs made an order on what the respondents should or should not do.

He therefore prayed the court to dismiss the application.

Mr. Kwaku Ansah Asare, counsel for the Gbese Mantse, told the court that the applicant had failed to discharge the evidentiary burden on him that the Gbese Mantse was ordered by the House of Chiefs not to enstool any king, but went ahead to do so.

He said the House of Chiefs did not make an order to the respondents not to enstool a chief, but rather made a decision not to stop the applicant from acting as Ga Chief, adding that apart from that, his client could not have known about any suit before the House.

He therefore prayed the court to dismiss the application.

The case has been adjourned to October 27, 2011 for ruling.

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