Joseph Ayikoi-Otoo, counsel for two stalwarts of the New Patriotic Party on Wednesday pleaded with the panel of judges at the Supreme Court, to pardon his clients, as a birthday gift to him.
Mr. Ayikoi-Otoo who turned 59, had a difficult task of convincing the judges not not commit the the NPP men – General Secretary Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie and Hopeson Adorye, a party communicator – to jail, after they had been charged with contempt following comments they made regarding hearing of the election petition.
The Supreme Court has imposed a fine of GH¢5,000 on Sir John after he was found guilty of intentional criminal contempt. He is to deposit the money with the court by the close of work Thursday or in default serve a prison sentence of six months.
The convict is also to retract the said offensive comments and apologise for same. Mr. Owusu Afriyie, known in political circles as Sir John, is also to sign a bond to be of good behaviour for six months.
A member of the Communications Team of the NPP, Hopeson Adorye, who was also found guilty of contempt, would pay a GHC2,000 fine and in addition, sign a bond of good behaviour for two months.
Earlier, Justice Atuguba, presiding judge of the panel of nine justices hearing the election petition did not mince words in condemning Sir John and Hopeson Adorye.
In a blistering attack, particularly on the NPP General Secretary, Justice Atuguba said tensions were high in the country during and after the elections because of the attitude of “people like” Sir John.
The judge wondered why “the state should be powerless because, his [Sir John’s] likes have grown horns”, showing clearly his determination to deal with the canker of “political bigotry”.
But Lawyer Ayikoi-Otoo, a humorous counsel for Sir John pleaded that his client had finally “seen his size today” in court, and pleaded for for mercy.
The former Attorney-General said, the NPP General Secretary had shown remorse after he issued a 33-point guideline on speaking on matters of the election petition and roamed the country urging party communicators to be respectful to the judges.