otintoCourt Says He Lacks Capacity As Sempe Mantse

… Recognises Adote Obuor As Such

An Accra Fast Track Court? presided over by Justice Paul Dery has struck out a defamation suit brought against Adansie Newspaper and four others by Nii Adotey Otinto, Claimant to the Sempe Stool for lack of capacity.

It could be recall that Adansie Newspaper published stories on Contract killing attempt on Nii Adjei Brown at his residence in New Weija, where the paper alleged that Nii Adotey Otinto was the mastermind behind the alleged murder attempt.

However, unable to withstand the heat, Nii Adotey Otinto sued Adansie Newspaper, and its Editors Henry Ayi Addo, Prosper Agbenyega and ThyKingdom Kudesey for defamation.

Nii Adotey Otinto also got an Accra Fast Track High Court to placed an order for interim injunction on The Adansie News Paper, Henry Ayi? Addo, a journalist, Prosper Agbenyega, Thy Kingdom Kudesey and Fantasy Productions (defendants).

The Plaintiff ( Nii Moi Allotei Brown, Sempe Mantse and the Sempe Palace ) was claiming damages for defamation in the sum of GHC 10, 000,000 (10 million Ghana Cedis ) each, and a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from publishing any further defamatory material about the plaintiff and legal cost.

In a writ filed against the paper, Adotey Obour was alslo seeking a perpetual injunction to restrain the defendants from further publishing defamatory materials about him.

However, the case which has traveled in the Court for about a month and for three hearings, saw the Adansie Newspaper, its publishers and Editors winning the case.

According to Justice Dery two main grounds have been canvassed in support of the application which are Order 2 rule 4(a) of C.I. 47 which provides that ” Before a writ is filed it shall be indorsed when the plaintiff sues in a representative capacity, with a statement of the capacity in which the plaintiff sues.”

Also, Order 57, rule 2 which states that “Before a writ is issued in an action for libel it shall be endorsed with a statement giving sufficient particulars of the publication in respect of which the action is brought to enable them to be identified.”

According to the Court, the Plaintiff failed to indorsed the writ with sufficient particulars of the publication as required by Order 57, rule 2 of C.I. 47.

It also held that, ?the Plaintiff endorsed the writ with the capacity in which hew sues as required by the rules of court and stated his capacity as the Sempe Mantse when he is not the Sempe Mantse.?

Justice Dery who took the grounds in the order stated above noted that as the plaintiff failed to comply with Order 57, rule 2 and also Order 2, rule 4 (1) of C.I 47.

?In the case of the defendants that the plaintiff sued as the Sempe Mantse but he is not the Sempe Mantse. The defendants exhibited a copy of a gazette notification in the Local Government Bulletin dated, Friday, 10th August, 1990 (Exhibit ?QLG2?) in which it is stated that James Nee Allotey was enstooled on 13th December, 1971 as Sempe Mantse under the stool name Nii Adote Obuor II in the Ga Traditional Area. Since the plaintiff is not the Sempe Mantse he is incapable of bringing the instant action in that capacity,? the court ruled.

Justice Dery also said, ?From the response of the plaintiff, ?it is obvious that he does not deny the authenticity of the gazette notification that James Nee Allotey is the Sempe Mantse by the stool name Nii Adote Obuor II. However, he finds solace in defendants publication to the effect that he is the Sempe Mantse.?

In furtherance to the above Justice Dery said, ?With respect to the plaintiff I do not think that if you do not have a particular capacity and somebody refers to you by that capacity, you assume the said capacity knowing very well that you do not have the said capacity.?

Furthermore , from the writ and statement of claim, the plaintiff refers to himself as the Sempe Mantse. He described himself as Nii Moi Allotey Brown @ Nii Otintor II, Sempe Mantse? and resident at the Sempe Palace. In Paragraph 10, the Plaintiff states that by the publication he has suffered great distress, embarrassment and damage to his reputation as a chief. In Paragraph 13, the plaintiff states that the publication was meant to disparage him personally and in his said position as a chief.

So, Justice Dery held that if he (plaintiff) is bringing this action on both his personal capacity and his capacity as the Sempe Mantse. Since he is not the Sempe Mantse he has no capacity to bring this action.

??This is because if a party brings an action in a capacity he does not have, the writ is nullity and so are the proceedings and judgement founded on it. Any challenge to the capacity therefore puts the validity of the writ in issue.?

Justice Derry accordingly, granted the Defendants? application and the entire action brought against them by Otinto dismissed.

This is the beginning of the fall of the empire, It is finished!!


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