The Executive Director of ASEPA, Mensah Thompson, has pleaded not guilty to two criminal charges of publication of false news and offensive conduct conducive to the breach of peace.
He has subsequently been admitted to a bail sum of GH¢50,000 with two sureties.
He is also to report to the investigating officer at the Teshie District Police Command at least twice a week.
Mr. Thompson put up a Facebook post last year alleging that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s relatives used the presidential jet on a shopping spree in the United Kingdom. He subsequently retracted the post and apologized for it.
Police Prosecutor, Inspector Ebenezer Tei Okuffo, told the Kaneshie District Court that Mensah Thompson’s post had the potential of inciting the youth against the family of President Akufo-Addo.
He told the court that “there are places we have to take the accused person to, to elicit some information” as part of the investigations; and prayed the court to remand Mr. Thompson.
According to the Prosecutor, Mr. Thompson had been extended an invitation to the Police Station on January 14, to aid the police in the investigation, but he refused to honour the invitation and turned himself in only when he got wind of an arrest warrant secured against him.
The prosecution thus feared that Mr. Thompson would not avail himself for investigation if granted bail.
Disagreeing with the facts as presented by the Prosecution, lawyer for Mensah Thompson, Victor Kojogah Adawudu, said the accused person did not refuse to honour the police invitation.
He told the court that Mr. Thompson was undertaking an examination at the time of the invitation, so was unable to honour it.
He argued based on case law that it wasn’t the place of the accused person to aid investigations into the charges against him; and contended that Mr. Thompson’s only obligation was the assurances of his highest esteem to attend to the court whenever he’s called upon, even when on bail.
According to Mr. Adawudu, Mr. Thompson “was misled by a source (in his Facebook post) but he did the honourable thing by retracting and apologizing the moment his attention was drawn to it”.
When quizzed by the Magistrate, His Worship, Oheneba Kuffuor, Mensah Thompson told the court that he “did not intend to cause malice or breach the peace with his post but only sought accountability”.
His Worship, Oheneba Kuffuor, wondered why the accused person would run to social media with the post when he had officially written to the Civil Aviation Authority requesting information on the matter.
“It appears everyone is busy taking a part of the country off. What do you seek to gain with that?” he quizzed in astonishment.
In the belief of His Worship, Mr. Thompson’s Facebook was not derogatory and wondered how it would have incited the youth against President Akufo-Addo’s family members.
The case has been adjourned to 10th March 2022.