The Lighthouse Chapel International has withdrawn the motions for judgment in default of defence it filed against Manasseh Azure, Edwin Appiah, Sulemana Braimah and Media Foundation for West Africa in the 3 defamation suits it filed in the High Court against the defendants for the publication of 3 articles titled “Darkness in a Lighthouse”.
The church contended in the cases that the three articles were highly defamatory and potentially in contempt of court in respect of 6 other cases that were pending against the church at the time of publication.
WITHDRAWAL OF APPLICATIONS
The motions were fixed for hearing on Monday 24th January 2022. When the cases were called, Counsel for Lighthouse Chapel International indicated to the court that a search conducted by the church on 10th January 2022 stated that the defendants had not filed their defences and that it was on the basis of the search results that the motions for judgment in default of defence were filed.
The search results were attached to the motion. Counsel for the LCI submitted that he had, since serving the applications on the defendants, received the defences from the defendants, which were dated 6th January 2022.
As a result of receiving the defences, counsel for LCI said he was withdrawing the applications for default judgment.
NEITHER PARTY AT FAULT FOR SEARCH RESULTS
The High Court presided over by Justice Joseph Adu-Owusu Agyemang said that it was neither the fault of the plaintiff nor the defendants that the search results, said the defendants had not filed their defences as at 10th January 2022. He accordingly ruled that the motions on notice for judgment in default of defence were “struck out as withdrawn” and said he would make “no order as to cost”.
CONSOLIDATION OF CASES
The court further directed counsel for the plaintiff to consolidate the three cases into one case, since the parties are the same.
The cases continue as the defendants wait to receive the consolidated writ from the plaintiff.
CONTEMPT OF COURT
In a related matter, the Lighthouse Chapel International has cited all 4 defendants for contempt of court in respect of the three publications which are the subject matter of the defamation suits and three other articles written by defendants.
The motion for contempt of court is urging the court to commit the respondents to prison for what the application describes as “the repeated and defiant republications” of the said articles, despite being cautioned by the plaintiff that the articles are in contempt of court.
The motion will be heard on Monday 31st January 2022.