Election Petition: Bring your written submissions by Feb 17 – Supreme Court to all parties

The Supreme Court has instructed lawyers for the petitioner and the respondents in the ongoing presidential election petition hearing to file their written submissions by Wednesday, February 17.

The apex court made the order on Thursday, February 11 after a ruling that the Chair of the Electoral Commission (EC) and other witnesses cannot be compelled to mount the witness box to be cross-examined.

Lawyer for the petitioner Tsatsu Tsikata has already served notice he will file for a review of the ruling and also subpoena Jean Adukwei Mensa.

“We are applying to reopen our case and on that basis we are issuing a subpoena addressed to the chairperson of the electoral commission of Ghana,” he said.

This comes after the Supreme Court said that the Chair of the Electoral Commission (EC) and the Campaign Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in last year’s elections, Peter Mac Manu, cannot be compelled to mount the witness box to be cross-examined in the ongoing election petition.

During proceedings on Tuesday, February 9, lawyers for the 1st and 2nd respondents, Justin Amenuvor and Akoto Ampaw respectively, told the Court that the petitioner cannot compel them to elect witnesses to appear in the witness box.

“The petitioner cannot compel us to enter the witness box to adduce evidence,” Mr Akoto Ampaw said.

He added: “The petitioner has adduced evidence and closed his case. We have taken the position that in our assessment, they have not discharged the burden of proof and the burden of producing evidence and, therefore, we will not give further evidence and the Court will determine the case on the evidence before it.”

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Lawyers for the two respondents on Monday, February 8 moved to close their cases without their witnesses being cross-examined.

This was after Counsel for the petitioner Tsatsu Tsikata closed his case.

He had told the court during the legal arguments that the chair of the 1st Respondent, Jean Mensa, cannot skip cross-examination.

He argued that by filing a witness statement, the 1st Respondent has opened herself up for cross-examination.

“It is our respectful submission that by filing its witness statement the first respondent has clearly crossed the bridge as far as opening the witness up for cross-examination is concerned. That bridge has been crossed, the ship has already been sailed,” Tsatsu said in his argument to the bench.

But the court dismissed his objection on the heels that a witness cannot be compelled to mount the witness box.

 “We also intend to apply for a review of the ruling,” he had said afterwards.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana