National Democratic Congress (NDC) bigwig and Associate Professor at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Professor Michael Kpessa-Whyte on Tuesday May 30, 2023 was convicted by the Supreme Court for contempt following a series of tweets he made about the Court.
Prof Kpessa-Whyte, who appeared before a five member-panel of the Supreme Court presided over by Justice Mariama Owusu, was convicted after pleading guilty to charges of contempt of Court.
The tweets, the Court noted scandalized, ridiculed and prejudiced the Court, which amounts to contempt of Court.
Prof Kpessa-Whyte had earlier apologized upon receiving summons after making the contemptuous tweets. Prof Kpessa-Whyte.
It was a pensive move for the National Service Scheme (NSS) Boss when the panel went on a break to determine the appropriate punishment for him in order to serve as a deterrent to others.
On return, he was reprimanded by the court, cautioned and discharged.
On May 19, when the Supreme Court ordered Parliament to expunge the name of Mr. Gyakye Quayson from its records as a Member of Parliament because he was wrongfully elected, Kpessa Whyte wrote on Twitter: “The highest Court of the Land has been turned into ‘Stupid Court’.
“They have succeeded in turning a Supreme Court into a Stupid Court. Common – sense is now a scarce commodity.”
“A major element in the death of democracies is partisanship in the delivery of justice. Our judges need lessons in political philosophy and ethics. Time will tell”.
The Supreme Court, after the tweet went viral, subsequently invited Professor Kpessa-Whyte to explain why he should not be held in contempt for describing the nation’s highest judicial body in such a manner.
Prof. Kpessa-Whyte also issued a statement to clarify that he did not intend to denigrate the Supreme Court and offered his unreserved apology.
APOLOGY AND RETRACTION
I sent out a tweet on May 19, 2023, at 9:59 am, that shared my reflections on insights from a book by David A. Kaplan (2018) The Most Dangerous Branch: Inside the Supreme Court’s Assault on the Constitution, and recent attempts by some Democrats in the US to increase the number of Justices at the Apex Court from nine to thirteen.
I have observed that Ghanaweb and other media publications sought to associate my tweet with the decision of the Supreme Court in the Assin North matter as stated on the face of the Summons to show cause, but honestly, at the time of my tweet, I had no knowledge of the Supreme Court’s decision as at 9: 59am when I did the tweet.
The said tweet has resulted in the invocation of the powers of the Apex Court in our country for me to appear and show cause, because the tweet has scandalized the Apex Court of our land and has brought the dignity of the court into disrepute.
Sincerely, the tweet was not done with the intent to scandalize or denigrate a revered institution such as the Supreme Court of Ghana for which I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration. These are consequences I never intended, although I do accept responsibility that, I could have exercised better judgment in my choice of words.
Please permit me to state unequivocally that I have no reason to slander our Supreme Court, and I hereby sincerely apologize unreservedly for any pain and discomfort my tweets may have caused the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court, and the entire judiciary.
I hereby retract the tweet in question; accordingly, the tweet has been deleted completely and I pray for forgiveness.