Montie 3 Pardon Stop the reckless comments; Mahama only showed mercy - Arthur K

According to him, even though he is opposed to the remission granted the three, the president cannot be faulted for exercising his constitutional powers.

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  play Dr. Arthur Kennedy
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Dr Arthur Kobina Kennedy, a founding member of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), has described as reckless reactions to President John Mahama’s decision to grant pardon to the Montie three.

According to him, even though he is opposed to the remission granted the three, the president cannot be faulted for exercising his constitutional powers.

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The president, late on Monday, August 22, 2016, freed the three men.

A statement signed by the Communications Minister Dr Omane Boamah said the decision was taken on the advice of the Council of State and was on compassionate grounds.

The decision has not gone down well with some sections of the public and other opposition parties, who believe that the authority of the Judiciary is being undermined.

However, Dr Kennedy in an article believes the reactions to the Montie three pardon “have the chance to do more harm to our constitutional order than the pardons. If the courts charged with dispensing justice can be merciful, why can’t the President who has the mandate to show mercy be merciful?”

The Montie three, Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn and Salifu Maase alias ‘Mugabe’ were sentenced to four months in prison by the Supreme Court following contempt proceedings against them.

The contempt proceedings came after the three threatened the lives of Supreme Court judges who sat on the Abu Ramadan and Gary Nimako versus the Electoral Commission case.

A petition book was subsequently opened by pro-government group Research and Advocacy Platform (RAP) to collect signatures of Ghanaians to implore the president to exercise his prerogative of mercy powers to free the three contemnors.

After spending 27 days in jail, the three can now heave a sigh of relief as they have been granted a pardon.

Below is the full statement by Dr Kennedy:

Dr. Arthur Kobina Kennedy writes...............

RECKLESS COMMENTS ON MUNTIE PARDONS MUST STOP

Let me begin this by restating that I was and remain opposed to the President's pardon because while constitutional, it was not prudent.

However, the reactions to it have been over the top and reckless. Indeed, these reactions have the chance to do more harm to our constitutional order than the pardons. If the courts charged with dispensing justice can be merciful, why can’t the President who has the mandate to show mercy be merciful?

You would think the President just staged his second coup, with apologies to the title of his first book.

The leaders of the Judicial Service workers issued a statement that "we will not allow this to dampen our spirits". Really? And their spirits have never been dampened by the pardon of murderers? Was their spirit dampened by the corrupt judges?

Then Hon. Ayikoi Otoo, a former Attorney General and counsel for Sir John, who immortalised himself before court in his plea for mercy invoking "Gbesie" opined that the pardons showed that the President is only a President for NDC members. Really, honourable? If you had lost the plea for mercy on behalf of Sir John, would you not have asked for a Presidential pardon? A lawyer who would plead for mercy before the courts but will not plead it before the President is a bad attorney and that is not Ayikoi Otoo.

John Ndebugre thinks it sets a bad constitutional precedent. What about all those pardons for murderers? What about joining the PNDC regime that overthrew an elected government, comrade?

While all these were egregious, Hon. Atta Akyea, whose client went to jail for contempt takes the cake. He described the pardon as "constitutional lawlessness"!! Ebei, lawyer Atta Akyea. I did not go to Achimota and I am more familiar with a stethoscope than syntax but how can something that is constitutional be lawless?

All these lawyers should be explaining to us laypeople why the President's action is constitutional and consistent with the biblical and Shakespearean injunction to "temper justice with mercy", instead of confusing us. As for the NPP, it should be careful about the traps it is laying for future NPP presidents!!

We should focus on the learning points of this episode. The case should have been prosecuted by the AG before another court. The lawyers for the accused should have been more vigourous in their advocacy before the Supreme court.

The National Media Commission and media houses, together with GJA, should police the profession better. And finally, nobody who is not a government employee should be getting a paycheck from the government -- As Mugabe is alleged to be getting.

God bless you all and Ghana.

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