Kpessa-Whyte Spared By Supreme Court After Pleading Guilty To Contempt Charges Over "Stupid Court" Tweet

Kpessa-Whyte Spared By Supreme Court After Pleading Guilty To Contempt Charges Over "Stupid Court" Tweet

  • NDC's Michael Kpessa-Whyte is scot-free after the Supreme Court discharged him on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, over a contempt case
  • The academic had made a series of tweets deemed disrespectful of the Supreme Court on May 19, 2023, and was summoned to appear and show cause
  • His lawyer, Justice Srem Sai appealed to the judges to show mercy to his client who has since become remorseful after the tweets

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An academic and popular member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Professor Michael Kpessa-Whyte has been let off the hook by the Supreme Court in a contempt case.

The highest court of the land charged Prof Kpessa-Whyte with contempt of court last week and he was convicted for the same offence during a hearing on Tuesday, May 30, 2023.

However, after skilfully manoeuvring the delicate case, Prof Kpessa-Whyte's lawyer, Dr Justice Srem Sai, ensured that the Supreme Court judges only cautioned him and discharged him.

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Kpessa-Whyte has been discharged and cautioned by the Supreme Court after tweeting that the apex court was becoming "stupid".
A scene from the Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 after the case was heard (L) and Professor Michael Kpessa-Whyte. Source: Facebook/@radiotamale, @Twitter/@kpessawhyte
Source: UGC

Kpessa-Whyte initially fought the charge of contempt slapped on him by pleading not guilty.

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But he later changed the charge to guilty with an explanation before finally pleading guilty to dragging the name of the Supreme Court and the bench into disrepute.

Kpessa-Whyte's "stupid court" tweet lands him in trouble

The lecturer at the University of Ghana got into trouble with the judges of the highest court in Ghana after a series of tweets that coincided with the court's ruling that embattled James Gyakye Quayson, then NDC MP for Assin North, should be expunged from Parliament because he's not fit hold himself as a parliameentarian.

Prof Kpessa-Whyte's scalding tweets after the ruling started as follows:

"The highest Court of the Land has been turned into ‘Stupid Court’."

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Shortly after that, he tweeted the following:

"They have succeeded in turning a Supreme Court into a Stupid Court. Common – sense is now a scarce commodity."

There were two other tweets after these, with one warning that democracies elsewhere have collapsed because there was partisanship in the delivery of justice.

"Our judges need lessons in political philosophy and ethics," he recommended.

The timing of the tweets caused many, including the Supreme Court judges, to perceive the tweets as a reaction to the ruling on the James Gyakye Quayson matter.

However, Prof Kpessa-Whyte explained subsequently that his tweets were not specifically about the Supreme Court of Ghana, but the Supreme Court of the United States and elsewhere.

"Thanks to all who have asked questions about my May 19th 2023 tweet. For the avoidance of doubt, I follow judicial decisions in many countries and so the said tweet cannot be pinned to Ghana. It has more to do with developments elsewhere including the US. We live in a global village," he clarified.

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Kpessa-Whyte issues an apology and retraction

As the pressure mounted on him over the tweets, the lecturer issued a statement apologising for the tweets and retracting same.

He disclosed in the statement that the tweet has resulted in the invocation of the powers of the Supreme Court for him to appear and show cause because the tweet has denigrated the reputation of the apex court.

"Please permit me to state unequivocally that I have no reason to slander our Supreme Court, and I hereby sincerely apologise 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," portions of his statement said.

Kpessa-Whyte asked to go and sin no more

In court on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, Prof Kpessa-Whyte's legal counsel, Justice Srem Sai pleaded with the venerable judges to show mercy to his erring client.

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“We pray for the mitigation of sentence. My lord, immediately the matter was brought to his attention, he did issue a clear, unreserved apology which we have accordingly brought to the court’s registry, addressed to the acting Chief Justice," Dr Srem Sai pleaded.

The five Supreme Court justices who heard the matter, i.e. Justices Mariama Owusu, Lovelace Johnson, Prof Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Samuel Asiedu, and George Koomson, then convicted the popular NDC member and academic but discharged him to go scot-free.

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Teshie family loses claim to 72,000 acres of land after unanimous Supreme Court ruling

Meanwhile, YEN.com.gh has reported in a separate story that the Supreme Court has ruled that the Numo Nmaishi family of Teshie is the not rightful owner of a large swathe of land covering over 72,000 acres.

The townships under dispute include Madina, Adentan, Oyarifa, Adjankote Hill, East Legon, North Legon, Patang area, UPSA area, Ashesi University area, and Adjirigano among others.

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Presiding Supreme Court judge Justice Jones Dotse restored an earlier court order in 201I that declared that the Teshie family cannot hold claim to the disputed land.

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Source: YEN.com.gh

Authors:
George Nyavor avatar

George Nyavor (Head of Politics and Current Affairs Desk) George Nyavor writes for YEN.com.gh. He has been Head of the Politics and Current Affairs Desk since 2022. George has over 9 years of experience in managing media and communications (Myjoyonline and GhanaWeb). George is a member of the Catholic Association of Media Practitioners Ghana (CAMP-G). He obtained a BA in Communications Studies from the Ghana Institute of Journalism in 2010. Reach out to him via george.nyavor@yen.com.gh.

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