Counsel for the 2nd Respondent in the ongoing election petition hearing, Mr Akoto Ampaw has said that lead counsel for the petitioner Mr Tsatsu Tsikata should have anticipated that the respondents could use the evasion of cross-examination strategy because that is permitted under the law.
“If you didn’t know about this strategy, then that is too bad for your client,” Mr Ampaw said in court on Monday February 15.
He further opposed the application of the petitioner to reopen his case because in his view, the petitioner is seeking an opportunity to subpoena the Chairperson of the 1st respondent Jean Mensa and witness of the 2nd Respondent Peter Mac Manu for cross-examination.
If this is granted, he said, the respondents’ witnesses will be exposed to help the petitioner make his case by adducing evidence. This, is he argued, is against the burden of proof under the law for which the application should be denied.
“This is an attempt to call for further evidence and he must be held to the rule on the condition to be met in order to adduce further evidence,” he said.
Counsel for the 1st Respondent in the ongoing election petition hearing Justin Amenuvor has told the Supreme Court on Monday February 15, that the petitioner’s application to reopen his case is an abuse of the court process.
Mr Amenuvor told the court that an extensive research he conducted so far on reopen of cases points that since the common-law emerged in Ghana as far back as 1876 no such attempt has ever been made.
This is “an abuse of the court processes,” he said.
Mr Tsikata had told the Supreme Court that he closed the petitioner’s case because he thought the Chairperson of the 1st Respondent, Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa will make herself available for cross-examination.
He said that the affidavit of the 1st Respondent indicated that she will testify in the case hence, their earlier decision to close their case for that to happen.
“We had the expectation that the chairperson of the 1st Respondent will testify” hence the closure of the case.
“The Chairperson of the 1st Respondent has in affidavit made clear that the petitioner will in no way be prejudiced because the questions that the petitioner sought to have in interrogatories those will be subject matter in cross examination,” Mr Tsikata told the court.
Meanwhile, Mrs Adukwei Mensa, has sworn an affidavit, praying the Supreme Court to dismiss a fresh application filed by petitioner in the election petition case John Dramani Mahama to reopen the case.
According to Mrs Mensa, the application is not warranted by any rule of law or procedure “and the same should be dismissed by this Honourable Court”.
She indicated that Mr Mahama’s application is “creating the erroneous impression that this application is made at my behest”.
The Chair of the Commission explained that at no time had she informed the petitioner nor his lawyers of her desire to testify in the case.
Lawyers of Mr Mahama on Thursday, February 11 declared their intention to re-open the case in order to subpoena Mrs Mensa as the Returning Officer of last year’s presidential elections to testify.
It followed the unanimous dismissal of an earlier application to force witnesses of both respondents – EC and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo – to appear in the witness box.
The respondents had closed their case by voting not to present their witnesses in court.
But the petitioner filed the application to get the Chair of the EC, in particular, to make an appearance in the interest of the public.
In her affidavit, calling for the dismissal of the petitioner’s application, Mrs Mensa stated: “I believe that there are more convenient fora (forums) for ventilating the so-called public interest issues and further that this should not form the basis of the Petitioner re-opening his case in a Presidential Elections Petition in Court.”
She expressed surprise how the petitioner, after closing his case on his own volition, will come back again to request that the case be re-open.
“I am advised that even if this Court grants leave for the Petitioner to reopen its case; it ought not cause a subpoena to be issued against me because a subpoena is issued with coercive effect.
“The Honourable Court, having held that I rightly exercised the option of my right not to testify would be overriding its earlier decision to order that I be compelled to testify.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana