• Chantelle Kudjawu has sued Gloria Assan for defamation
• This is after Gloria Assan made some claims against her in her (Gloria Assan) divorce petition
• Following a High Court ruling on the divorce case, the lawyer for Chantelle Kudzawu has filed a supplementary submission to the High Court
After missing out on some financial requests she made in her divorce suit, Gloria Assan, the ex-wife of Eugene Arhin, the Director of Communications at the Presidency has a GH¢3.5million defamation suit to contend with.
This is after lawyer Amanda Akuokor Clinton who is the counsel for Chantelle Kudjawu, the lady who was the subject of adultery allegations by Gloria Assan filed her final supplementary submission at Division 2 of the Accra High Court where the $3.5million dollar defamation case is being heard.
A copy of the supplementary submission sighted by GhanaWeb deflates an argument by counsels for Gloria Assan that the conduct of their client falls under the principle of absolute privilege as the allegations were contained in a lawsuit.
“My Lord, as has already been mentioned, there are exceptions to the principle of absolute privilege in judicial pleadings. One of such exceptions is as laid down by the author Spence Bower at page 92 of his book on “A CODE OF THE LAW OF ACTIONABLE DEFAMATION (1908)”. He states that absolute privilege does not apply to or include any publication of defamatory matter to any person other than those to whom, or in any place other than that in which such publication is required or authorized by law to be made for the proper conduct of the judicial proceedings,” it read.
The lawyer for Chantelle Kudjawu also argued that the medium used by Gloria Assan to publish the divorce suit exposed her client to public ridicule.
“Your Lordship, it goes without saying that notwithstanding that the said defamatory statements complained of were part of judicial proceedings, the forum of publication by the Applicant, which is the social media, was not in any way the proper forum for conduct of judicial proceedings and neither is the social media the authorized place by law for such statements to be published as part of judicial proceedings. Reference is again made to Exhibit A of Respondent’s Affidavit in Opposition wherein the intended Respondent of the said pleadings containing the defamatory statements by the Applicant received the said petition outside the ambits of the judicial process, i.e. the social media”.
The supplementary submission comes after the Accra High Court ruled that Gloria Assan could not substantiate her claims of adultery against Eugene Arhin in which she mentioned Chantelle Kudjawu as Eugene Arhin’s partner.
In her ruling, Justice Cecilia Don-Chebe Agbevey held that: “a person who makes an averment or assertion, which is denied by his opponent has the burden to establish that his averment or assertion is true.
“And, he does not discharge this burden unless he leads admissible and credible evidence from which the fact or facts he asserts can properly and safely be inferred. The nature of each averment or assertion determines the degree and nature of that burden.”
She noted further that “Direct evidence of adultery is rare. In nearly every case, the fact of adultery is inferred from the circumstances which by fair and necessary inference lead to that conclusion.
“There must be proof of disposition and opportunity for committing adultery but the conjunction of strong inclination with evidence of opportunity will not lead to an irrefutable presumption that adultery has been committed.
“Likewise, the Court was not bound to infer adultery from evidence of opportunity alone.”
She, therefore, noted that “the petitioner (Gloria) merely repeated her pleadings, and thereby failed woefully to adduce evidence of circumstances that would have enabled the Court to make the necessary inference to the effect that the Respondent (Eugene Arhin) committed adultery.”
This part of the ruling was captured in the statement by the lawyer for Chantelle Kudjawu.
“It is on the strength of this that we respectfully refer your Lordship to the judgment in respect of the Applicant’s divorce petition involving the published pleading containing the defamatory statement. In Applicant’s divorce petition, Gloria Assan Arhin v Eugene Kofi Bentum Arhin, Suit No. DM/0244/2021, Her Ladyship Justice Cecelia Don-Chebe Agbevey held on the 28th Day of April, 2021 that:
“The Petitioner (herein the Applicant) repeated her pleadings and thereby failed woefully to adduce evidence of circumstances that would have enabled the Court to make the necessary inference to the effect that the Respondent committed adultery”.
“Therefore, the Respondent further asserts that from the Judgment above, Her Ladyship Justice Cecelia held that the Applicant failed to adduce evidence to the extent that the Respondent committed adultery with the Applicant’s husband.
Thus, since the Respondent’s claim is that she did not commit adultery with the Applicant’s husband and the Respondent’s name was stated in the divorce petition to prove adultery when the Applicant knew it was false went ahead to circulate same on social media. The Respondent respectfully submits that only a full trial will give the Respondent the opportunity to prove her case to the court that she was maliciously, falsely and wrongly defamed as there is no truth about her having an affair with the Applicant’s husband.”