A KUMASI High Court presided over by Mr Justice Frank Amoah has placed an interim injunction on the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), thus barring them from publishing anything more on two aggrieved law students until the final determination of a GH¢500,000 legal suit the students instituted against the university.
In his ruling, the judge said, "The university is hereby restrained, albeit temporarily from publishing further materials against the applicants in any form whatsoever and through any journalistic forum until the hearing of this substantive matter".
Through their lawyer, Mr Akwasi Afrifa of O&A Legal Consult, Kumasi, the students, Alfred Obeng Boateng and Ato Kwamena Sam Ghartey, filed the writ after the university published an advertisers' announcement in the Daily Graphic of July 10, 2008 to the effect that they engaged in examination malpractices leading to their dismissal.
In their statement of claim, plaintiffs said the publication was actuated by malice because the KNUST was aware that on March 5, 2008, a Kumasi High Court granted an order of certiorari "quashing the purported proceedings of the university that culminated in their purported dismissal and the dismissal itself".
It said "the defendant [KNUST] had no basis to make the said false publication, which is libellous and intended solely to injure the reputation of the plaintiffs".
They therefore stated that unless restrained the university would continue the “demonstrably malicious publications”.
"The plaintiffs will contend that in the circumstances of the case they are entitled to general punitive and exemplary damages for the defendant's deliberate libel", the statement said.
Mr Justice Amoah said in his ruling that the university should have been circumspect in what it published about the applicants in view of the ruling delivered by Mr Justice Moro Ziblim on March 5, 2008 quashing the purported dismissal of the students.
The judge conceded that the order made by Mr Justice Ziblim was a declaratory order and non-executable but its validity and potency could not be denied.
He noted that it was not proper for the university to call the two students cheats when no Appeal Court had set aside the High Court's declaratory order, which was still binding on the university.
"This court is therefore of the view that in the light of the foregoing, the university should be restrained, albeit temporarily, from publishing further materials against the applicants/students", he said.