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Failed defamation case: Kumasi Club boss to pay GH¢600,000 cost

BY: Emmanuel Ebo Hawkson
• Richard Kwadwo Owusu Nyarko — Chairman of the Kumasi Club lost the defamation case
Richard Kwadwo Owusu Nyarko — Chairman of the Kumasi Club lost the defamation case

The Kumasi High Court has slapped the Chairman of the Kumasi Club, Richard Kwadwo Owusu Nyarko, with a GH¢600,000 cost for failing in a defamation suit against six members of the club.

Per the court order, Mr Nyarko must pay each of the six members GH¢100,000 as cost for the expenses and time they wasted on the case.

“The defendants expended money on their legal fees and also spent most part of their time in court, coupled with the fact that if the plaintiff had won the case, he was going to claim GH¢5 million from the defendants,” the court held.

Case dismissed

Mr Nyarko had filed a defamation suit against the six members, accusing them of calling him” fake doctor, quack, thief, fraudster, impersonator” among other names.

The six defendants were Kwame Brenya, Norman Owusu Barnie, Henry Asumadu Kofi Owusu Ansah, Andy Arhin and Kojo Sarpong.

The court, presided over by Justice George Krofa Addae, however, threw out the suit after ruling that Mr Nyarko could not establish any case of defamation against the six defendants.

No defamation

In dismissing the suit, the court held that evidence on record showed that Mr Nyarko was not a medical doctor but had presented himself as such to the Kumasi Club.

It was, therefore, the considered view of the court that the defendants were justified in calling him those names and ,therefore, no case of defamation had been made.

“A man could not complain that his character or reputation had been injured if what was said about him was true or substantially true.

Defendants have been able to establish that plaintiff (Nyarko) is not a doctor and calls him quack and fake, he cannot complain because he is being called the very character he has displayed to the defendants,” Justice Addae ruled.

Kumasi Club

The Kumasi Club, a social club, formerly known as the European Club, was established in 1927.

It originally drew its membership from Europeans and a few Ghanaian elites, until 1962 when it changed to allow all nationalities to join.

The club currently boasts of highly trained professionals residing in the Ashanti Region as members, with the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu, as its life patron.

Plaintiff’s case

On May 26, 2020, Mr Nyarko, who is the chairman of the club dragged the six members to the Kumasi High Court for defamation.

He accused the six of raining insults on him on the club’s official WhatsApp platform by calling him a “fake doctor, quack, dishonest, criminal”.

Again, he said Barnie, who happens to also be a trustee of the club, wrote a letter with the same defamatory remarks purporting to sack him from the club.

It was his case that he had never presented himself as a medical doctor.

He, therefore, wanted the court to order the six defendants to pay damages of GH¢5million for defaming him and injuring his reputation.

Defence

In their defence, the defendants submitted that at all material times, Mr Nyarko had presented himself as a medical doctor to the club.

It was their case that when Mr Nyarko applied to join the club in 2012, he prefixed his name with “Dr” and also indicated that he was a medical officer on the application form.

Again, they said when the plaintiff became chairman of the club, he wrote to its bankers about change of signatories to the club’s accounts and in all the correspondences, he prefixed his name with”Dr”.

They further submitted that in all dealings with the club members, Mr Nyarko presented himself as a medical doctor.

However, according to the defendants, their investigations revealed that Mr Nyarko was not doctor, but rather a “general nurse.”

Court’s position

The court upheld the case of the defendants and held that all the evidence showed that Mr Nayrko was indeed not a medical doctor but had presented himself as one in his dealings with the Kumasi Club.

According to the court, under cross-examination, Mr Nayrko admitted that he wrote his name as “Dr Owusu Nyarko” on three letters he co-authored to the club’s bankers indicating the change of the signatories on the club’s accounts.

“Having been able to establish that the plaintiff is actually not a medical doctor which the plaintiff has been using as his professional name “Doctor” the defendants are justified for calling him a fake doctor, quack, dishonest, disgraceful etc”, Justice Addae held.

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