In a ruling Tuesday (October 25, 2022), the court, presided over by Justice Jane Harriet Akweley Quaye, held that the headline for the articles were not only sensational but prejudicial.
In default of the fine, Azure, Edwin Appiah, Sulemana Braimah will serve one month in jail.
They have also been ordered to apologise using the same medium they used for the contemptuous publication.
The Lighthouse Chapel International (LCI) filed the contempt case against the four over publications which the church said were prejudicial and conclusive in an unresolved case between six former pastors of the LCI and the church.
The church had earlier sued the defendants in December last year over three articles they published against the church titled, ‘’Darkness in a Lighthouse’’ in April 2021.
In its contempt application, the church urged the High Court to commit the respondents to prison for contempt of court for publishing “highly prejudicial articles and commentaries” as well as making“ conclusive statements of facts on unresolved issues which are yet to be determined by the High Court’’.
It said despite warning the respondents in its defamation suit that the articles were in contempt of court, they (respondents)continued to publish the articles in December last year.
According to the affidavit in support of the motion, three of the articles which were the subject matter of the contempt application were titled “Darkness in a Lighthouse” and were published on April 23, 27 and 29 in 2021.
In his plea of mitigation, counsel for the respondents urged the court to temper justice with mercy.
Another counsel, Shadrack Arhin, who added his voice to the plea for mercy, said the media was very credible in leading everyone in the fight to make things right in the country.
“So when they do err, my lady they have to be punished, we all plead that you soften the punishment,” counsel prayed.
In her ruling, the presiding judge said the headline was revealing and sought to paint that the Church had or was committing some wrong; She said while respect for human rights was fundamental, no right was absolute and there were limits in the exercise of such rights.