The High court, presided by His Lordship Charles Gyamfi Danquah has struck out and dismissed accordingly, a case of defamation filed by Chantelle T.S. Kudjawu against Gloria Assan Arhin.
Gloria Assan Arhin, a former banker and ex-wife of Mr.Eugene Arhin, the director of communications at the Jubilee House, the seat of Ghana’s presidency, filed for divorce on 10th February 2021, in which she made various allegations and cited reasons for her action.
In her divorce pleading, she mentioned one Chantel Kudjawu(Gertrude Gbajo) whom she claims was having extramarital affair with her husband.
However, Miss Chantel Kudjawu found the allegation made against her in the said divorce pleading, which went viral, defamatory. Thus taking legal action at the high court against Mrs.Gloria Assan.
In her statement of claim, the plaintiff, Chantelle Kudjawu sought 9 reliefs against the defendant.
Among them are;
A declaration that the defendant’s defamatory statement against her is false, wicked, malicious, and defamatory.
Also, a declaration that her reputation has been injured because of a false, malicious, unjustifiable, and reckless defamatory statement by the defendant.
Furthermore, she pleaded for an order of the court for perpetual injunction, restraining the defendant from further publishing any defamatory material about her, among others.
However, the defendant prayed the court to strike out the plaintiff’s pleadings and dismiss the suit under Order 11 rule 18(b) and (d) of the High Court(Civil Procedure) Rules, 2004 CI 47 and as well under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
In his ruling, the presiding judge, His Lordship Gyamfi Danquah agreed with the counsel for the defendant that basing the defamatory suit on pleadings contained in a divorce pleadings, makes the suit incompetent since, by law and established proceedings, such statements are an absolute privilege and described same as abuse of court process.
He cited several authorities including New York Law Journal No.108(The cases of Brown Maxell,929 F, 3d 41, 53(2d Cir 2019), Munster vs Lamb(1883) 11 Q.B.D. 588 at 603-604 among others, to back the point that;
“Anything said, whether orally or in documentary form, in judicial proceedings is an absolute privilege. It does not matter how false or malicious the statement may be…
In conclusion, the judge struck out the pleadings, accordingly dismissed the suit in its entirety, and awarded a cost of GH¢2000 to the defendant.
Attached is a copy of the ruling.