3 Christ Embassy members who were accused of violating COVID-19 statute were cleared and released. Alex Asomani, Wilson Delali Agyemang, and Kumi Nutifafa were released by the court after it determined that the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012), which formed the basis for the charges against them, had been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
The court’s decision was made in response to a request by the defendants’ lawyer, Nanabanyin Ackon, who argued that the Supreme Court’s ruling rendered Act 1012 null and void, thereby establishing that his clients had not committed any offense in the first instance.
Mr. Ackon argued that a nullified law holds no legal weight and cannot serve as a basis for any action or decision. He stated that the nullification of Act 1012 renders it without legal effect and cannot be relied upon.
Regarding the charges, the concert organized by the Youth wing of Christ Embassy Youth took place at the Fantasy Dome on April 30, 2021.
The arrests of Asomani, Agyemang, and Nutifafa were made by the police on charges of conspiring to disregard restrictions imposed on large religious gatherings and failing to comply with restrictions imposed on religious bodies, including a maximum duration of two hours for services.
If convicted, the trio could have potentially faced a prison sentence of up to 10 years, as outlined in the sentencing provisions of Act 1012.
According to Section 6 of Act 1012, individuals who fail to adhere to the restrictions specified in the Executive Instrument issued under Section 2, Subsection 1, commit an offense.
The penalties for such an offense include a fine ranging from 1,000 penalty units (Gh¢12,000) to 5,000 penalty units (Gh¢60,000), or imprisonment for a period between four and ten years, or both.
However, on May 31 of the present year, a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Act 1012 was unconstitutional.
The court determined that Act 1012 was in violation of the constitution as it enabled the President to declare a state of emergency and impose restrictions without following the prescribed procedure outlined in Article 31 of the 1992 Constitution.
3 Christ Embassy members who were accused of violating COVID-19 statute were cleared and released.
The court ruled that Act 1012 contradicted Articles 21 and 31, particularly in matters that required a formal declaration of a state of emergency in accordance with Article 31.
Article 31 is designated as the appropriate mechanism for addressing public emergencies of significant magnitude such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
The court declared that Act 1012 was inconsistent with several constitutional articles, including Articles 21, 31, 32, 58 (2), and 93(2). Consequently, the court deemed Act 1012 unconstitutional and rendered it null and void.
The seven-member panel, chaired by Justice Jones Dotse, consisted of Justices Nene Amegatcher, Prof. Nii Ashie-Kotey, Avril Lovelace–Johnson, Issifu Omoro Tanko Amadu, Prof. Joy Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, and Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi.