Supreme Court sets date for petition hearing

law-scalesThe Supreme Court has set April 16, for the hearing of the election petition filed by Nana Akufo-Addo and two others challenging Electoral Commission’s (EC) declaration of John Mahama as winner of December 7, 2012 elections.

The court also ordered the petitioners to file affidavits of all the witnesses they intend to call during trial within seven days.

The respondents on the other hand also have five days within which they are to respond to the petitioner’s affidavits.

The court said in order to expedite the trial parties to the petition may be allowed to give oral evidence and where there are compelling reasons the court would give orders for witnesses to be allowed to testify in the case.

After discussing matters with the parties in relation to the memorandum of issues the court was able to agree on whether or not there were violations, omissions, malpractices and irregularities in the conduct of the presidential election and whether the outcome affected the  election results.

In a related development, the Supreme Court by a majority decision of six to three struck out an application filed by the EC for “further and better particulars” on the 28 polling stations the petitioners alleged were not included in the original 26002 polling stations for the elections.

Mr James Quarshie Idun, Counsel for the EC moved the application.

He said the petitioners only provided “further and better particulars” on only 22 out of the 28 polling stations they claim were involved in electoral malpractices.

Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, Counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said the matter for further and better particulars on the 28 polling stations came up when the petitioners amended their earlier petition.

He said the issue cannot be left for the EC alone since the petitioners have failed to provide the “further and better particulars”.

Mr Philip Addison, Counsel for the Petitioners in opposing the motion said application by the EC for “further and better particulars” on the 28 polling stations were an after thought.

He said the petitioners had already complied with the court’s order and provided the EC with its request for the “further and better particulars” on the 28 polling stations.

He argued that information being demanded by the EC is already in their possession and does not understand why they are making such a request.

Mr. Addison also prayed the court to dismiss the EC’s application since no proper argument has been advanced by the second respondent.

The Supreme Court by majority decision dismissed the application on the grounds that the EC was attempting to order them on an issue they had already given instructions on.

The court however, allowed the EC to take leave of the court to file an affidavit in respect of paragraph 18a of the petitioners’ petition which they have not had the opportunity to respond to the matter.

Source: GNA

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