Host of Onua Maakye on Onua TV and Onua FM, Blessed Godsbrain Smart a.k.a Captain Smart has pleaded not guilty to the charge of offensive conduct conducive to the breach of the peace under Section 207 of the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) brought against him at a circuit court in Accra on Thursday.
The court subsequently denied the Ghana Police Service’s request to keep Captain Smart in custody while they investigate the charge brought against him.
In arguing for the state, the police prosecutor said Captain Smart would interfere with the investigations should the court deny the request of the police to keep him in custody. He prayed the court to allow the police to detain him in lawful custody for at least seven (7) days to enable them complete their investigations.
However, the legal team representing Captain Smart cited different cases to argue that since the popular broadcaster had earlier been granted bail by the Police and he had not interfered with their investigations, it was obvious that he would not do so should the court grant him bail. They also argued that Captain Smart is a responsible man with a lot of responsibilities to himself, his employers and his family and would therefore not abscond should the court grant him bail.
The court granted him bail in the sum of Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (GH₵ 100,000.00) with one surety to be justified and adjourned the case for hearing on January 11, 2022. The court also directed Captain Smart to report to the Police two times a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The Nima Divisional Police Command arrested him last Thursday.
At about 11:00am on Thursday, Captain Smart received officers from the National Investigations Bureau (NIB) in his home who invited him to their office, to which he obliged. He was subsequently taken to the Nima Police Station in Accra for interrogation.
At the Nima Police Station, Captain Smart was cautioned on the “offence of offensive conduct conducive to breaches of the peace as provided under section 207 of the Criminal Act, 1960 (Act 29).”
He provided a caution statement and then was granted bail.
According to the Police, the arrest of Captain Smart was due to some unsavoury pronouncements he was alleged to have made that, according to them, hinged on the peace and security of the country.
The National Media Commission (NMC) reacting to the news expressed concerns about the utterances of the presenter.
The NMC in a statement issued on Thursday, December 2, 2021, said “on the morning show on Onua FM/TV, Captain Smart was heard allegedly inciting the Ghana Armed Forces against Members of Parliament and also calling on them to stage an uprising.”
“Part of your broadcast raises concern for the peace and security of the country in a manner that demands immediate regulatory action. We are particularly concerned about a recent broadcast in which ‘Captain Smart’ calls for insurrection against the state of Ghana and its institutions.”
But in a response to the NMC, Onua TV/FM demanded an immediate retraction of the letter.
It is the contention of the station that the letter “sought to create an impression that the word(s) used by Blessed Godsbrain Smart, a.k.a. Captain Smart in the alleged broadcast ‘calls for insurrection against the state of Ghana and its institutions’.”
The station is particularly concerned that the NMC “will within 24 hours of the occurrence of the alleged broadcast and without just cause, write such a letter which seeks to pass “judgment” of an alleged wrong-doing on the part of Captain Smart, a journalist of Onua TV and Onua FM”.