UCC Wins Defamation Case Against The National Tribute Newspaper
Court awards GHc 2.3-million damages against national tribute newspaper for defaming UCC Vice-Chancellor and Director of Development.
A Cape Coast High Court, presided by Justice Emmanuel Lodoh on Monday, 29th June, 2020 gave judgment in favour of the Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Coast (UCC), Prof. Joseph Ghartey Ampiah and the Director of Physical Development and Estate Management, Mr. Philip Ntim Owusu.
This was in a suit brought against the National Tribute Newspaper, its Managing Editor; Mr. John Ackaah Alulbah, publisher; Angenubibi Media Next Work Company Ltd, Editor; Douglas Owusu and its News Editor; Francis Arthur for defamation.
The newspaper had made two publications about the Vice Chancellor in its 21st June, 2018 and 12th July, 2018 editions. The publications were titled “UCC VC, Others Hot Over dubious deals as BNI starts investigation” and “VC and others in more troubles”.
The stories alleged that the Vice Chancellor had been involved in wrongdoing in the award of ICT related contracts and appointment of staff of the University.
The paper also alleged that the appointment of the Director of Development was not based on merit.
Counsel for the Defendant, Chris Ackumey in his statement of defence stated that the Defendants had in an earlier proceeding before the National Media Commission offered an apology and retraction and as such any judgment of the Court will constitute double jeopardy.
Counsel for Plaintiffs, Solomon Faakye, Esq., however, impressed upon the Court that the apology should be ignored because the defamatory statement was actuated by malice.
The learned judge found that the defendants conduct was defamatory and accordingly awarded damages of GHc1.5M in favour of the Vice Chancellor and GHc800,000 in favour of the Director of Physical Development and Estate Management. A cost of GHc20,000 was also awarded to each plaintiff.