A private legal practitioner, and a member of pressure group Occupy Ghana, Ace Ankomah, has said that the crime committed by members of pro-New Patriotic Party vigilante group, Delta Force, when they stormed an open court in Kumasi and set their colleagues free, is worse than the infamous Montie three case.
“Storming the court to free people who are on trial is worse than sitting on radio and threatening the court. It is worse, so we expect that the system will treat it with the seriousness that it requires, but as it turns out, all we are left with is feeling high and dry,” he said on Eyewitness News on Thursday.
Mr. Ankomah said this when his views were sought on the GHc1, 800 fines imposed on the 13 members of the Delta Force, who were charged with conspiracy to commit a crime by rioting after they were captured on a video manhandling the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator, George Adjei.
While the case was being heard, some of their members stormed the court and set their colleagues free, leaving the judge and court staff in shock.
The 13 suspects later turned themselves into the court and were made to sign a bond of good behaviour, and fined Ghc2,400 cedis each.
But under rather bizarre circumstances, the eight persons who raided the court were freed for lack of evidence, a development that was widely condemned, considering the threat that action posed to the judiciary.
Following these developments, many have described the fines slapped on the 13 as weak, and a subtle attempt by the government to ensure that the culprits who are members of the ruling party do not spend time in jail.
Some civil society organizations including the Center for Democratic Development has said the fines are woefully inadequate.
In the case of the infamous Montie three, Salifu Maase, the host of a political show on Montie FM, a pro-NDC station, and two of his panelists – Alistair Nelson, and Godwin Ako Gunn – were convicted of contempt by the Supreme Court and jailed four months for threatening the lives of some Justices of the Supreme Court.
However, former President John Mahama remitted the jail term after some Ministers and leading members of the National Democratic Congress petitioned him since the contemnors were perceived NDC loyalists.
Ace Ankomah told Richard Dela Sky on Eyewitness News that, such the handling of the Delta Force case “feed the perception that if your government is in power, somehow, you can get away with such acts.”
He warned further that, such occurrences “are emboldening more people to storm a police station to free somebody who has been arrested, to storm a DCE’s Office to scare the person out of office.”
AG can appeal Delta Force 13 fines
Ace Ankomah also said the Attorney-General can appeal the fines handed out to the 13 Delta Force members if they so wish.
“…If they feel the fines are not big enough, then the AG could appeal against not the conviction, but the sentencing; the amount of the fine, to give another court the opportunity to review,” Mr. Ankomah opined on Eyewitness News.
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