The-man-of-the-moment, Nii Ayikoi Otoo, has revealed on Joy FM, his strategies in court that snatched Sir John and Hopeson Adorye from the jaws of an ominous jail sentence after they were found guilty of intentional criminal contempt.
The strategy of Mr Otoo, lawyer for the two contemnors, can be summed up as apology, mitigation and leveraging his standing as a senior lawyer.
The Supreme Court Wednesday imposed a fine of GHc5,000 on the General Secretary of the opposition New Patriotic Party who has been found guilty of intentional criminal contempt. 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. Hopeson Adoryee also got a fine of GHc2,000 and fulfill other obligations imposed on Sir John.
Nii Ayikoi Otoo became an instant cult hero after a combination of these tactics laced with humour appeared enough for the nine justices to let Sir John and his colleague spend the night at home and not in jail.
His efforts have been applauded and his personality celebrated by lawyers and partisan intercessors who have been praying for Sir John since last night.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Top Story, Mr. Ayikoi Otoo said it was important for him to first apologise before the judges because they had presumed his client guilty of the offence. Explaining the offence was as dangerous as pouring petrol into fire, he said.
After the apology, the experienced advocate then moved to plead with the court to mitigate any sentences the panel may impose on his client. He said Sir John knew he was wrong and, therefore, asking for mercy was the right thing to do. The man-of-the-moment said it was the duty of a lawyer to do everything in his power to save his client from going [to] jail even if it meant “crying crocodile tears.”
His third strategy, he said was to leverage his good standing as a lawyer. He suggested that it was important for anybody having a case in court to employ the services of a lawyer who was respected by the bench.
Nii Ayikoi Otoo who was once an Attorney-General and Minister of Justice under the Kufuor administration employed humour in court to ease a tensed atmosphere. He at one point said Justice Atuguba ought to calm down to keep his blood pressure in check.
He jestered and sang a popular song ‘Woyome Woyome’ and even asked the court to consider his birthday, which was yesterday, and give him a present by freeing his client.
It worked. Sir John and Hopeson Adoryee are free men if even they have to cough up some money.