Supreme Court to decide on whether Respondents should mount the witness box
The Supreme Court will on Thursday February 11, decide on whether or not Mrs Jean A. Mensa, the Electoral Commission Chairperson should mount the witness box for her to be cross-examined by Petitioner’s lawyer in the election 2020 petition trial.
The apex court of the land would also decide on the stand of the second respondent, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who abandoned the course of calling a witness in the election petition trial.
Both lawyers for the first and second respondents (EC and Nana Addo) had indicated that they were not calling any witnesses in the trial after the Petitioner had called three witnesses and closed their case.
The two respondents made their intention clear at yesterday’s sitting and the court adjourned the matter to today so that counsel for the first and second respondents would make their legal arguments.
Arguing before the Court, Mr Justine Amenuvor, lawyer for the EC cited Order 36 Rule 43 and Constitutional Instrument (CI) 87 rule 3 (e) 5, Section 62 subsection (2) of the Evidence Act to support his arguments.
Mr Amenuvor said the EC would not require further evidence to determine the matter before the court after the Petitioner had closed its case.
He argued that it was the Petitioner who brought them to court, led evidence, and closed its case after calling three witnesses.
“We don’t think we have anything to say. If he has a good case, he should go ahead and be happy dancing. We prayed the court to uphold our application.”
Mr Akoto Ampaw, who represented the second respondent also associated himself with submission made by the EC’s lawyer arguing that the Petitioner’s counsel’s arguments were misconceived and same did address the thrust of the their position.
Mr Ampaw was of the opinion that the stands of the second respondent works in favour of the Petitioner.
He said under the English law, a party could raise or notify the court that “it does not intend to adduce evidence in a trial” and same should be done timeously.
Mr Ampaw opined that “We are of the view that in the light of CI 37, we are entitled not to adduce evidence. The Petitioner could tender our witness statement as hearsay evidence.”
Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, Counsel for the Petitioner, Mr Mahama, objected to the EC’s evasion of cross examination adding that Mrs Mensa who represented the EC, had made it known to the court that she was would be mounting the witness box to be cross examined.
Mr Tsikata said that the EC chairperson explicitly in her affidavit in opposition to the Petitioner’s stay of proceedings and the petitioner’s application for interrogatories.
Based on that, Mr Tsikata urged the court to compel the EC Boss to mount the witness box so that she could be cross examined.
He further held that the EC Boss known as the Returning Officer of the 2020 elections polls had a constitutional obligations to perform by declaring the election results.
Mr Tsikata held that the EC boss ought to mount the witness box so that “the truth would set her free.”
According to Mr Tsikata, the EC boss could not change her mind adding that “she ought to state the right reasons for that. The Court has the power to disallow her for that change of mind.”
Mr Tsikata held that “the EC boss made a representation to the court and she cannot resign from those representation.”
Counsel for the Petitioner further argued that the EC boss had carried out a particular responsibility of conducting election 2020 and she ought to render an account for that.
“Her account is to declare who won the mandate of the people and same is captured in issue two of the issues set out by the court to be determined.
Mr Tsikata argued further that the respondent’s withdrawal is an affront to justice and same was not in accordance to the rules of the court.
On February 8, this year, the petitioner closed its case after calling three witnesses namely, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, the NDC party General Secretary, Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte and Mr Robert Joseph Mettle Nunoo, both members of the party and a team present in the EC’s National Collation Centre formerly called the strong room.
The respondents also closed their case, saying that, in view of the evidence adduced through the petitioner’s witness, it would no longer call any witnesses.
The EC through its lawyers had also indicated that they would not let their witness mount the witness box to be cross-examined, but would rely on her witness statement before the Supreme Court.
Mr Mahama had gone to the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the EC’s declaration of the winner election 2020 polls.
The petitioner also accused the EC of vote padding but the EC has denied that assertion