Judge orders parties in ambulance trial to stop media commentary or face contempt

The trial judge in the ongoing ambulance procurement trial, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe has given an order to lawyers and witnesses in the matter to stop commenting on the case in the media or risk being thrown into jail for contempt just like the infamous ‘Montie 3’ in 2016.

Journalists reporting on the case have also been advised to stay away from putting value judgment on submissions of witnesses who mount the box to give evidence.

Incessant commentaries according to the trial judge, pose a security threat to the state and have the potential to compromise the sanctity of the proceedings before the court.

“No lawyer or any other person involved in the case will make any statement, whether oral or written, with the potential to prejudice the ongoing case” Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe ordered.

The Court of Appeal judge who is sitting on the ambulance procurement trial with additional responsibility as a High Court judge, warned that she will be compelled to “apply the powers used during the Montie 3 trial ” if the parties fail to comply with the court order.

Some three pro-NDC communicators were jailed four months after pleading guilty to charges of contempt when they made indirect and conditional threats against the court in 2016.

The judge before the order on Thursday, July 11, referenced a July 3 interview offered by the third accused person in the case, Richard Jakpa, on JoyNews where he commented about processes that culminated in the purchase of the ambulances, lifestyle, businesses, and his relation with Supreme Court Judge, Justice Yoni Kulendi.

According to the judge, most of the comments passed by lawyers and parties in the routine interviews after hearings in the case, “are in borderline in contempt.”

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