ACCRA - A.D 2019
THE REPUBLIC - (Plantiff)

DATE:  CR/70/2019
SUIT NO:  CR/70/2019


[1] Contempt of Court is the mechanism which the law provides for the protection of the authority of the court from improper interference. Contempt arises in many ways but includes a breach of a court order, an attempt to obstruct the administration of justice, a deliberate attack upon the integrity of a court or a judge that interferes with proceedings, or some other form of conduct not foreseeable. Contempt of court is part of a court's inherent jurisdiction and, as it is not precisely prescribed or enacted, should be exercised with scrupulous care and only when the circumstances are clear and beyond reasonable doubt.


[2] The denial of liberty of any citizen of our Republic resulting from a charge of contempt is effected in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. Even though there is no specific law on contempt in Ghana [1], the absence of codification of the law of contempt in Ghana does not in itself violate the principle that there must not be crime or punishment except in accordance with fixed or predetermined law. This is because the charge of contempt of court in Ghana rests in the concept of the public defiance that accompanies the charge of contempt. To establish contempt in Ghana the Applicant must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused defied or disobeyed a court order, with intent, knowledge or recklessness as to the fact that the public disobedience will tend to undermine and attenuate the authority of the court.


[3] As previously stated by this Court[2] ‘contempt of court is the big stick of civil litigation and because of the serious nature of a contempt finding, a finding should be made sparingly and only in the clearest cut of cases. A direct intention to disobey a Court order or an act to prejudice a pending application or an act to over-reach the Court is required and it ought to be a willful disregard of the order or prejudice the outcome of a pending suit in the Court’[3].


[4] The Black’s Law Dictionary 8th Edition defines contempt as “conduct that defies the authority or dignity of a Court or legislature. Because such conduct interferes with the administration of justice, it is punishable, usually by fine or imprisonment.” The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English by A.S. Hornby (7th Edition) also defines contempt of court as “the crime of refusing to obey an order made by a court; not showing respect for a court or judge.”


[5] The Applicant has mounted this application under Order 50 of the High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, C.I. 47 seeking an order of committal for contempt against the Respondent. The grounds for the application have been catalogued in the supporting affidavit that accompanied the application filed.


ii. The Instant Application:

[6] By an Amended Motion on Notice filed in this court on 2nd May 2019 by the Applicant, the Applicant is praying for an “Order for Committal of the Respondent for Contempt of Court upon the grounds stated in the accompanying affidavit”. Before outlining the issues raised in the instant contempt application, it is appropriate to provide the background of the case.


 iii. Background, Affidavit Evidence and Position of the Parties:

[7] The Applicant has deposed that she commenced an action against one Joseph Amon Kotey in the High Court in a suit entitled “ATTIYYATUL AZIZ ABDULLAH VRS JOSEPH AMON KOTEY, SUIT NO.: GJ 1088/2016” and subsequently obtained judgement against him. She further deposed that pursuant to the judgment of the Court against the said Joseph Amon Kotey, a piece or parcel of land situate and being at Dzorwulu, Accra was attached to execute the judgement. She attached as “Exhibit 1” a copy of the Notice of Attachment.


 [8] It is the case of the Applicant that upon attachment of the property of the judgment debtor, the Respondent herein filed a Notice of Claim on 20th February, 2017 in the suit claiming ownership of the property. The Applicant attached as “Exhibit 2” a copy of the said Notice of Claim. According to the Applicant she “disputed the claim of the Respondent and as result, the Registrar sought relief from the Court and the Court ordered both of us to appear before the Court to prove our claims. Exhibited and marked as “Exhibit 3” is the Order to Appear”.


[9] The Applicant further deposed that “I attended Court in compliance with the Order to Appear but the Respondent failed, neglected or refused to comply with the Order to appear before the Court and more so notwithstanding the service of several hearing notices on him. That the Court, left with no other option, accordingly struck out the Notice of Claim as not proven on 26th May 2017 and thereby paving the way for execution to be continued. Exhibited and marked as “Exhibit 4” is the Order striking out the notice of claim as not proven”.


 [10] It is the further case of the Applicant that “while the order striking out the Respondent’s notice of claim has not been set aside, vacated or quashed, the Respondent purported to commence another suit entitled “RICHARD HLORMADOR VRS ATTIYATUL AZIZ ABDULLAH  &  2  ORS,  SUIT  NO.: LD/0767/2017” at the High Court (Land Division) and further applied for an order of interlocutory injunction that was granted but on application to the Supreme Court, this order of interlocutory injunction was quashed by a unanimous decision of the Supreme Court. Exhibited and marked “Exhibit 5” is the Ruling of the Supreme Court dated 19th December, 2017”.


[11] The Applicant further says “when the property was attached by the Deputy Sheriff of the Court the property was undeveloped land with a perimeter wall around it and the Respondent in his two applications for interlocutory injunction against the Applicant in the High Court in August 2017 and at the Supreme Court in opposition to the certiorari application in December 2017 marked exhibited photographs of the land in its undeveloped state. Exhibited and marked “Exhibit 6 Series” are the pictures attached to the respective applications of the Respondent”.


[12] It is the further case of the Applicant that “in gross disobedience for and disregard of the attachment of the property by the Honourable Court, the Respondent is hastily and frantically developing the property under attachment or in custodial egis. Attached as “Exhibit 7 Series” are pictures indicating the development of the property after it was attached by the Court”. It is therefore the case of the Applicant that the conduct of the Respond is intentional, willful and calculated to bring the administration of justice into disrepute, scorn, ridicule and mockery. She is therefore praying the Court to commit the Respondent for contempt of Court and punish him accordingly.


 [13] In moving the application Learned Counsel for the Applicant after rehashing the facts submitted that the Respondent has intermeddled with a property under attachment further to an order of the Court. Counsel further submitted that the interference is willful and intended to ridicule the order of the court, being the attachment. According to Mr. Atanga Ayamdoo the Respondent is aware of the attachment and the evidence of his knowledge is the notice of claim that he filed in   Court.


[14] Learned Counsel further submitted that the order of the Supreme Court to strike the order of injunction the Respondent filed at another High Court to prevent the execution is also an indication of the Respondent’s knowledge and notice of the attachment. Also, Counsel referred to the Respondent’s own writ filed in another matter and the photographs exhibited by him to say that the land was not developed until now.


[15] Mr. Ayamdoo further submitted that the current state of the land as per the Exhibits (photos) showing that the property is being developed and a notice on the land that ‘the land is not for sale’ show the Respondent’s contemptuous behaviour. Counsel submitted that the intermeddling is not contested because the Respondent has admitted intermeddling with the property as per paragraphs 14 and 15 but says he is improving the property.


[16] In responding to the affidavit in opposition Counsel submitted that contempt is not only about when a court order is disobeyed but anything that brings administration of justice into disrepute. In Counsel’s opinion the Respondent is telling this court that despite the attachment it will not comply/abide by the order. Mr. Ayamdoo further submitted that the Respondent’s statement that he was not a party to any suit is very wrong. This is because according to Counsel he is very much aware of all the processes that led to the attachment especially after he filed a notice of claim and same was dismissed. Based on all of the above counsel prays the court to commit the Respondent for contempt and punish him accordingly.


iv. Respondent’s Affidavit & Counsel’s Submission:

[17] However, in a 20 paragraph affidavit in opposition sworn to by the Respondent he says he has not done anything to disrespect the Court and bring its dignity to disrepute. He deposed that his Counsel will raise a preliminary legal objection but should the Court proceed to hear the application on its merits, then he is advised by Counsel and he believes same to be true that the present application is frivolous, vexatious and unmeritorious and ought to be dismissed.


[18] The Respondent’s affidavit in pith and substance is that he has not done anything to undermine the dignity of the Court to be committed for contempt. In answer to the merits of the application, the Respondent deposed that “on May 26, 2017, this Court struck out as not proven, a Notice of Claim I filed in respect of a property (“the Property”) sought to be auctioned in execution of a judgment obtained by the Applicant against Joseph Amon Kotey in a suit entitled, “ATTIYYATUL AZIZ ABDULLAH VRS JOSEPH AMON KOTEY, SUIT NO.: GJ 1088/2016”. He attached  as  Exhibit 1  a copy of the Ruling. He further deposed that “I was not a party to the aforementioned suit between the Applicant and the said Joseph Amon Kotey, and that indeed, the property was not the subject- matter of the aforementioned suit”.


[19] The further deposition of the Respondent was that “consequent upon the striking out of the aforementioned Notice of Claim, I instituted an action in this Court (Land Division) entitled, “RICHARD HLORMADOR VRS ATTIYYATUL ABDULAH & 2 ORS, SUIT NO: LD/0767/2017” for amongst others, a declaration that I am the legitimate owner in possession of the Property. Attached and marked as Exhibit 2 is a copy of the Amended writ of Summons and Statement of Claim”. The Respondent said it became necessary for him to institute the aforementioned suit since this Court merely struck out as not proven, the aforementioned Notice of Claim, and did not effectually and finally determine all issues in respect of the ownership of the Property.


[20] The Respondent further deposed that “I am advised by Counsel and verily believe same to be true that, a person may be committed for Contempt of Court if he is found to have disobeyed any judgement or order of the court to do, or to abstain from doing an act”. He also deposed that “I am further advised by Counsel and believe same to be true that a person who is found to have disobeyed   a judgement or order of the Court may only be committed for contempt of court if the judgement or order has been served personally on that person”. According to the Respondent he has not been served with any judgement or order of a Court either to do, or to abstain from doing an act.


[21] Mr. Hlormador further deposed that he has not engaged in any conduct to prejudice the outcome of the suit which he instituted, or any other suit if at all, or indeed, to interfere with an order or judgement of the Court, if any. According to the Respondent the Property which is in  his  possession has not been disposed of, or treated in such manner to reduce its value, and is available to be taken over by whoever the court (Land Division) adjudges to be the bona fide owner.


[22] The Respondent further deposed at paragraph 15 of the affidavit in opposition that “assuming without admitting, that I am developing the Property as alleged by the Applicant, I say that such a  step which seeks to add value to the land, cannot in the circumstances be said to be an intentional, willful and calculated attempt to bring the administration of justice into disrepute”.


[23] He further deposed that “I am also advised by Counsel and believe same to be true that committal for contempt being a quasi-criminal process, an Applicant has the same burden of proof as that required in a criminal matter, that is, proof beyond reasonable doubt.” According to him, he is advised by Counsel and he believes same to be true that the Applicant has failed to discharge the burden of proof required of her in the instant application because he has not engaged in any conduct contemptuous of the Court.


[24] Finally, the Respondent deposed that “I am also advised and verily believe same to be true that this Court is minded of the fact that the summary power of the Court to commit a person for  contempt is one which is sparingly used, and as such, a Court shall exercise circumspection in its exercise of such power”.


[25] Responding to the application, learned Counsel for the Respondent first submitted that the Respondent is vehemently opposed to the application because the Applicant has failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt as required by law as this is a quasi-criminal matter. According to Counsel the Respondent relies on the facts and his position is that even if the facts are admitted they do not amount to contempt of Court.


[26] Learned Counsel Mr. Appau Obeng next submitted that Order 45 Rule 6 of the High Court Civil Procedure Rules gives a clear guidance of what constitutes contempt. According to him if the property attached is about to be alienated, then yes the Respondent is guilty of the charge. In this case Counsel admitted that the Respondent is developing the land but submitted that there is no evidence of alienation and therefore the effect is that it is the Respondent who loses at the end of the day if he is adjudged not to be the owner.


[26] Learned Counsel also referred to Exhibit 1 by the Applicant and submitted that there is no evidence before the Court that it was renewed by the Applicant 12 months after it was  issued.  Counsel referred to Order 44 Rule 9 for the submission. Counsel submitted that because the execution was not completed the writ of execution should have been renewed. Based on all of the above counsel submitted that the application should be dismissed.


 v. Opinion of the Court & Analysis:

[28] Having laid out the cases of the parties in the application, I start my analysis by considering what constitutes contempt in Ghana? In R v SITO I; EX PARTE FORDJOUR (2001-2002) SCGLR 322 the Supreme Court gave the elements constituting the offence of contempt as that:-

a) there should have been a judgment or order which required the contemnor to do or abstain from doing something;

b) the contemnor knew what precisely he was expected to do or abstain from doing;         and

c) that he failed to comply with the terms of that judgment or the order and that his disobedience was willful.


 [29] Also, in IN RE: EFFIDUASE STOOL AFFAIRS (No.2); EX PARTE AMEYAW II (1998-1999) SCGLR 639 at 660 Acquah JSC (as he then was) gave an apt summary of the definition of contempt.  He said:

“In brief, contempt is constituted by any act or omission tending to obstruct or interfere with the orderly administration of justice, or to impair the dignity of the court or respect for its authority.”


[30] The above cases notwithstanding, in my respectful opinion it may be argued that the definition given supra may not be sufficient enough because it does not go far to take into account, the  possibility that contempt may be committed in a pending court proceedings when no order or judgment has been handed down in that case. In other words, acts or conduct prejudicial to the res litiga in a pending action. See REPUBLIC v. AKENTEN II; EX PARTE YANKYERA [1993-94] 1 GLR 246, CA.


[31] Further, in my considered opinion, any act or omission done ostensibly to prejudice the fair trial or outcome of a case even where no order has been made constitutes contempt of court. This legal reasoning finds expression in the case of R v KOFI TOTOBI QUAKYI & ORS _ Civil Motion    No. 45/94 delivered on 26/7/94 (unreported) where the Supreme Court by a majority of 6:1 held that a superior court has jurisdiction to entertain contempt proceedings brought before it even though no order of the court has been interfered with.


[32] The latest in the line of cases which deals with the definition of contempt of court is the unreported decision of the Supreme Court titled THE REPUBLIC v. BANK OF GHANA & 5  OTHERS; EX PARTE BENJAMIN DUFFOUR Civil Appeal No.  J4/34/2018  Delivered  on  June  6,  2018 the apex Court speaking through Baffoe-Bonnie, JSC stated that:

“A respondent to a contempt proceeding may be found guilty in many ways. The party may be found guilty of direct contempt or indirect contempt which may be proved depending on the facts of the case in several ways. The proof of direct contempt seem not to be as burdensome as proof of indirect contempt. In most cases direct contempt such as insulting the judge or a party to a proceeding, or committing acts of violence in court, the judge has the advantage of having a firsthand view of the act constituting contempt. The opposite can be said of indirect contempt where the Court will have to rely on the testimony of third parties to prove the offense of contempt”.


[33] His Lordship further stated after examining the standard of proof in a contempt proceeding that:

“Contempt many be committed intentionally or unintentionally. It is no defence to a charge of contempt for a party to prove he did not intend to commit contempt of Court. In Republic v Moffat; Ex parte Allotey [1971] 2 GLR 391, it was held that it was no defence for a party facing attachment for contempt to swear to an affidavit deposing that he did not intend to commit contempt of court. Intentional contempt may arise in two ways:

·         Where a party willfully disobeys an order or judgment of a court, and

·         Where a party knowing that a case is sub judice, engages in an act or omission which tends to prejudice or interfere with the fair trial of the case despite the absence of an order of the court”


 [34] In the respectful opinion of this Court, Contempt of court serves the primary function of protecting the sanctity and integrity of the court and court proceedings and it also serves to sustain  the rule of law, a check on conduct that potentially renders civilized society liable to the dynamics of a Hobbesian state of anarchy and chaos.


[35] I now turn my attention to whether or not the Applicant has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the Respondent has committed contempt of Court. Before I do so though, I wish to address the arguments advanced by Mr. Appau Obeng on behalf of the Respondent. The first is the issue raised pursuant to Order 45 Rule 6 of C.I. 47. The rule of Court is titled: Unauthorised Alienation during Attachment Void. It provides:


“6. After an attachment has been made by actual seizure, or by written order duly delivered, served or posted in accordance with rule 5, any alienation without leave of the Court of the property attached, whether by sale, gift or otherwise, and any payment of the debt, dividends, or shares to the judgment debtor during the continuance of the attachment, shall be null and void, and the person making the alienation or payment shall be liable to committal for contempt of court”


[36] According to Mr. Appau Obeng the above rule has set out the guidance of what constitutes contempt. In my respectful view, Counsel has clearly misconceived the law because Order 45  generally deals with Writs of Fieri Facias and Rule 6 specifically deals with alienating a property  under attachment further to the issuance of a writ of fi.fa. The rule in my view deals with the Court authority to set aside any such alienation and then punish the person who alienated the property when under attachment. To my mind that cannot be the only basis for citing any person for contempt of court. This is because C.I. 47 specifically has a rule that deals with contempt of Court and that is Order 50. To my mind the fact that the Respondent herein is not said to have alienated the attached property does not by itself mean that he cannot be cited for contempt. In my respectful view  Counsel’s submission that because there is no allegation of the property the instant application is frivolous is rather startling and without any legal basis.


[37] This is because conducts which constitute contempt have been judicially articulated by the apex Court in many cases. For instance in the case of Republic v. Mensa-Bonsu and Others; Ex Parte Attorney-General (1995-1996) 1 GLR 377 at 403 and cited in OPOKU v. LIBHERR FRANCE SAS [2012]  1 SCGLR 159 at 162 the Court stated:

“There are different forms of contempt. Underlying all of them, however, is one basic notion, that the roadways and highways of public justice should at all time be free from obstruction. Conduct which tends to create such obstruction constitutes contempt. …And any conduct complained of therefore must be viewed and assessed against the backdrop of this basic principle”.


The above statement of law in my respectful view ought to be the starting point in the assessment of any complaint that an individual has committed contempt.


[38] Another issue raised by learned Counsel is in regards to Order 44 Rule 9 (1) and (2) to the effect that there is no evidence that the writ of execution when issued was renewed by the Applicant. Again, in my respectful opinion Counsel’s objection is of no moment. This is because according to the Applicant’s Exhibit 1”, the Order was dated 14 August 2015 and the property was attached on October 22, 2015. The execution was then fixed for a later date. The Deputy Sheriff’s signature is dated November 10, 2015. From the affidavit evidence the Respondent filed his Notice of Claim on February 20, 2017 but as noted above he failed to pursue same and it was dismissed as unproven. Counsel in   his submission to the Court said there is no evidence that the order for attachment was renewed. The Court’s response is that while it is true that the Applicant did not provide any evidence of the renewal the Respondent has also not submitted any evidence that the Order was not valid because it never renewed. Be that as it may, even if it was invalid until it was set aside the law is that the order ought   to be respected.


[39] As the Court pointed out to Counsel for the Respondent at the oral hearing, the law is that in so far as the attachment was carried out within 12 months after the order for attachment was made there is no requirement under the law for a renewal. In the case of ACKAH v. GHANA COMMERCIAL BANK [2013-2014] 2 SCGLR 1157 the Supreme Court in unanimously dismissing the appeal filed held that


The settled practice in execution of judgments is that the issue of a writ of fi:fa takes place on it being sealed at the registry of the court which is executing the judgment on behalf of the judgment-creditor. Execution of the writ by a sheriff involves the attachment of the property the subject matter of the execution. If during the period of twelve months the sealed writ of execution has not been used to attach a property, the rules of court would require that the writ of execution must be renewed….


[40] The apex Court further stated that “in our opinion, the execution of a writ of fi:fa is done by the sheriff through a bailiff. The other implementary processes set out in the Auction Sales Law of 1989 which enjoins the execution creditor to value the attached property, asking the court for reserved price, advertisement and auction are left in the hands of the execution creditor. If a writ of fi:fa is executed by a bailiff by attaching the property within a year of its issue from the registry, it is valid. The other procedural formalities referred to above may take years but the writ of fi:fa would not be invalid as contended by counsel”.


[41] Finally, in further considering the defence put up by the Respondent in this application, I wish to again state that I think it is very simplistic for the Respondent to depose that that because this is a quasi-criminal matter the standard of proof is high and the Applicant has failed to meet the standard because it is a proof beyond reasonable doubt. I think the time has come to remind persons such as the Respondent and those with the same mindset and to re-state the fact that when the law speaks of reasonable doubt it is not a fanciful doubt. To paraphrase the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. VILLAROMAN, [2016] 1 SCR 1000, 2016 SCC 33 (CanLII) at p. 1023, “A reasonable doubt is a doubt based on ‘reason and common sense’; it is not ‘imaginary or frivolous’; it ‘does not involve proof to an absolute certainty’; and it is ‘logically connected to the evidence or absence of evidence’ (see also R. v. LIFCHUS, [1997] 3 SCR 320, 1997 CanLII 319 (SCC). In other words, the reasonable doubt threshold does not require a fantastical suspension of disbelief. It is a doubt that logically arises from the evidence, or the lack of evidence based on common sense and reason.


[42] Now, the bone of contention in this application is whether or not the Respondent has intermeddled with the property under attachment by the Court and therefore undermined the authority of the Court by carrying out or caused to be carried out the act alleged by the Applicant against him?


[43] The burden of persuasion is on the Applicant to establish or prove the allegations raised against the Respondent beyond reasonable doubt. In the present application, it is clear from the affidavit in opposition that the depositions of fact made by the Applicant were denied by the Respondent. The question though is, is the Respondent’s denial supported by the evidence, in particular the exhibits filed by the Applicant including the Respondent’s previous exhibits which showed a bare land and the present one which shows the massive development on the land which is the fulcrum of the instant contempt motion? Indeed as indicated above Counsel for the Respondent admitted in his submission that the Respondent is developing the land but in his view it is to add  value of the property. According to Counsel the development cannot constitute contempt because should the Court declare him not to be owner at the end of the trial he is the one who would have wasted his resources.


[44] The other contention of the Respondent is that he has “not been served with any judgment or order of a Court either to do, or abstain from doing an act”. In effect he says he does not know of the order he is alleged to have breached. It is not disputed that Mr. Hlormador was not a party to the initial suit which judgment resulted in the attachment of the land at Dzorwulu. The problem though is that, that judgment is not the basis of the instant application as I understand the Applicant. A critical review of the evidence will show that the Applicant’s plaint is about the Respondent’s interference with the property attached by the Deputy Sheriff pursuant to the order of the Court.


[45] In any case I agree with Counsel for the Applicant that the Respondent’s evidence as to his knowledge of the earlier judgment and the execution thereof emanate from his filing of the Notice of Claim and also his opposition to the Applicant’s motion at the Supreme Court. Based on all of the evidence, it is my finding that the Respondent had knowledge of the Applicant’s case against Mr. Amon Kotey and the judgment granted by the Court.


[46] In my respectful view, it is significant to note that the Respondent admits that he is developing the land which was attached by the Deputy Sheriff in or about October 2015. He has also confirmed the fact that he is the Plaintiff in Suit Number LD/0767/2017 which was instituted on March 21, 2018 which has the Applicant herein and Deputy Sheriff as 1st and 2nd Defendants. I note that in that suit the Respondent is seeking declaratory reliefs from the Court that he is the “legitimate owner in possession of the land the subject matter of the suit”. In my respectful opinion based on the reliefs endorsed on the writ of summons, it is also not in doubt that the ownership of the attached property  in Suit Number LD/0767/2017 is one of the matters the Court is called upon to determine.


[47] By adding the Applicant and the Deputy Sheriff to the suit the Applicant is clearly seeking an order of the Court to stop them from auctioning the attached land. To that extent, it is again simplistic for Counsel to submit that the Respondent is only adding value to the land and he is the one who would lose out should the Court hold that he is not the owner of the land. In the opinion of the Court in so far as the Court has not determined the suit he initiated and declared that he is the owner of the property, the Respondent’s action was a self-help step which clearly undermined and over-reach the Court’s authority and interfered with the administration of justice. The Matter is sub judice and he has no business to undertake the said development.


vi. Conclusion & Disposition:

[48] I have critically and analytically studied the motion paper and the supporting affidavits as well  as the annexures vis-à-vis the affidavits in opposition and the exhibits attached thereto and equally considered the arguments of Counsel both in support of and against the application. Upon a deep introspection of the facts and careful consideration of the issue raised in this application I hold the respectful view that I disagree with Mr. Appau Obeng that admitting the facts as provided by the Applicant does not constitute Contempt of Court. The Respondent’s development of a land attached by an order of a Court clearly undermines the Court’s authority and same is contemptuous.


[49] In my view, the Applicant has met her onus of proving the Respondent’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt based on the materials (including the exhibits and photographs) filed and the Respondent’s own admission. Further, I also have no hesitation to conclude that the Respondent’s action was willful because he is aware that the property is attached and by law he had no business entering the land and developing same.


[50] He is very much aware that his interpleader claim was dismissed as unproven and he has issued a writ of summons for a declaration of title of that same piece of land in his favour. Choosing not to wait for the Court’s judgment but take the law into his own hands without the Court  permission at the time that he is aware that the order of injunction made in his favour has been quashed by the Supreme Court makes the Respondent’s decision to develop the land unacceptable  and illegal. To my mind, the averment which was repeated by his Counsel that he is only enhancing  the value of the property is disingenuous and an insult to the judicial process. The Respondent  had  an obligation to respect the process of the Court he initiated himself. It is therefore my finding that the Respondent development of the land when he knew that the subject matter was sub judice is contemptuous.


[51] As matter of common law and as restated by the Supreme Court per Akamba JSC (as he then was) in EX PARTE AABA (Substituted by) ASMAH [2013-2014] 2 SCGLR 1032 at holding 4 “it is  worth reiterating that it is not the business of litigants or their Counsel to determine which orders or processes of the Court are lawful and deserving of obedience, and if not, must be disobeyed”.


[52] I wish to reiterate to the Respondent that a finding of Contempt of court transcends any dispute between him and the Deputy Sheriff, but it is one that strikes at the very heart of the administration of justice because as was held many years ago “Contempt of Court" is well known in  the vocabulary of the law. It is also well known that it is not a phrase to be taken literally in any sense of being concerned with protection of the personal dignity of the Judge. It is rather a sanction to serve the administration of justice in the public interest [4].


[53] In this case, the Respondent is the one who set the legal process in motion; to that extent he is bound to trust and respect the Court to deal with the issue(s) rather than for him to adopt self-help tactics. His action to my mind diminishes the respect for the Court and undermines the authority of the Court and subverts the rule of law, with the long term potential consequence of undermining the public interest in an orderly society. Undoubtedly, the effect of refusing the instant application would mean that the Court endorses and gives tacit approval to the so-called “enhancement of the property” by the Respondent and therefore reinforces the discourse that might is right. Might cannot be right when the property is already attached by the order of the Court.


[54] Based on all of the above I hold the respectful view that a case of contempt has been properly made against the Respondent/Contemnor. Undoubtedly, the Applicant has met her onus of proving the Respondents’ guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Consequently, I hold the Respondent in contempt of court and CONVICT him accordingly.


[55] In my respectful opinion those who commit contempt ought to be punished for it. As Lord Byron (1788-1824) a rather flamboyant former member of the British House of Lords is credited to have said “He who holds no Laws in awe, He must perish by the Law”.


vii. Sentence:

[56] The Court has listened to the plea of mitigation by counsel for Respondent in particular the reference to Order 50 Rule 6. Even though in the opinion of the Court this may be the Respondent’s first brush with the law, in the view of the Court the action of the Respondent and the tone of the affidavit filed in this case to justify the illegal action taken by him is such that the Court ought to show its disapproval of the action.


[57] The aggravating factor here is that the Respondent, though was aware that the land he chose to develop was under the attachment of a Court order he deposed to an affidavit and denied that he has done anything wrong and said the application was frivolous and unmeritorious. In my view, without subjecting the Respondent to any long prison term, I am of the view that a custodial sentence is appropriate for the Court to show its disapproval of the demonstration of disrespect to the judicial process. For the purpose of vindicating the law and serving as a deterrent to others, a short and sharp custodial sentence is appropriate in this case. The Court therefore in the circumstance imposes a prison term of 14 days on the Respondent. The Respondent is further ordered to purge his contempt by stopping forthwith the development of the land. Also, Cost of Gh₵5,000 awarded against the Respondent and when paid Gh₵3,000 shall be paid out to the Applicant. In default of payment the Respondent shall serve further 14 days in prison.