A Lecturer at the GIMPA Business School has said beside the raging debate about the legality of President John Mahama’s remission of the sentences of the Montie 3, the move is wrong.
Jemima Nunoo says she is disappointed that the President remitted the four months sentences handed to Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn and Salifu Maase, who were jailed by the Supreme Court for scandalisng the court and bringing it into disrepute.
“I am not an expert but I can safely say what the President did was legal. It has legal backing. But it is not everything that is legal is beneficial.
Neither is everything that is legal, constructive,” she said on news analysis programme Newsfile on Joy FM and Joy News channel on Multi TV, Saturday.
Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn and Salifu Maase walked home free on Friday after a month in jail following an Executive order to release them.
They were jailed on July 27 by the Supreme Court they after had threatened to kill and rape judges during a political talk show on pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC), local language radio station Montie FM.
Accordiing them some members on the bench were anti-NDC and pro opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Following the sentencing of the trio, legal and governance experts have been divided about the legality of the President’s capacity to exercise his prerogative of mercy under Article 72 of the Constitution.
Some cited aspects of the Constitution to back their view that it was legal, others countered this position by presenting a different intepretation of those same aspects of the Constitution.
However, speaking on Newsflie, Mrs Nunoo said because the freed ex-contemnors are known NDC activists, the President’s decision presents grave consequences for the political space.
She says because Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn – the two panelists and the host of the programme, Salifu Maase, are known NDC sympathizers and activists, their release by the ruling party can be perceived to mean that the President has abused his power of discretion to favour members of his party. “It’s all about perception,” she said.
She surmised that especially that the three, “not once, not twice but over a continuinjg period have been involved in character assignation, insults, vilifaction, all manner of unscrupulous things and one incident has led them to be found guilty of contempt,” they should have served their full sentences.
“It was not about freedom of speech. They threatened death and rape. It is very serious,” she said to dismiss arguments that the three were exercising their democratic right to free speech.
She said contrary to what others have said, the four month jail sentence was not harsh, adding the intervention of influential in the punishment of people who break laws is creeping into the Ghanaian society.
The President’s action, she said, sets a bad precedence.