Pass default judgment against Manasseh, 3 others - Lighthouse Chapel asks court

BY: Justice Agbenorsi
Pass default judgment against Manasseh, 3 others - Lighthouse Chapel asks court

The Lighthouse Chapel International (LCI) has filed three applications asking the High Court to enter judgment against Manasseh Azure, Edwin Appiah, Sulemana Braimah and Media Foundation for West Africa for failing to file their defence in respect of three separate defamation suits against the defendants.

In its application filed on January 10 this year, the church argued that despite entering into appearance in respect of the defamation suit which was filed on December 20 last year, the defendants “have failed to deliver their defences to date according to a search conducted at the registry of the court”.

The church grounded its application for the judgement in default of defence on Order 13 rule 6(1) of the High Court (Civil Procedure Rules), 2004, C.I. 47 which states that: “Where the plaintiff makes against a defendant a claim of a description not mentioned in rules 1 to 4 and the defendant fails to file a defence to the claim, the plaintiff may, after the expiration of the period fixed by these Rules for filing the defence, apply to the Court for judgment.”

“I am advised that the Plaintiff has become entitled to judgment for the reliefs endorsed on the Writ of Summons by reason of the said default”, the church averred in its application.

Counsel for the defendants has until January 24, this year to respond to them.

Suits

The church sued the defendants in December last year over three articles they published against it titled ‘’Darkness in a Lighthouse’’ in April 2021.

The church in its Statements of Claim averred that Manasseh Azure and the three others together published the three articles in which they launched scathing and disparaging attacks on the LCI and its founder Bishop Dag Heward-Mills.

Some of the defamatory publications, according to the statements of claim, included the allegations that “six ministers of God laboured for a cumulative 42 years and five months without the payment of their pension contributions by the church.

Allegations

Another publication complained of by the church was the allegation that the exploitation by the church, undue pressure, and psychological effects of the ordeals by pastors drove an aggrieved former pastor of the church named Seth Duncan to “attempt suicide three times and also cut his scrotum”.

The statements of claim also averred that the articles apart from being defamatory, were also highly prejudicial to six suits that have been brought against the church by six of its former pastors, and further that the publications constituted a media trial of the suits in favour of the six former pastors.

Reliefs

The church is praying for an injunction restraining the defendants, their servants or agents from further publishing or causing to be published similar words, which are defamatory.

It is also praying for "an order directed to the defendants to ensure the removal of the defamatory articles as well as their re-publication on other media sites from the Internet."

The LCI is praying for damages including "special aggravated and exemplary damages for libel contained on websites published by the defendants and republication by many local and international media."