- According to the court, the petitioner “bears the burden of proof” and it is after this that the petitioner can shift that burden
- The commission's lawyer told the court the Returning Officer in the 2020 presidential election will not mount the witness box
- According to the Supreme Court, she cannot be compelled to be in the box to the irritation of the petitioner's lawyers
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The Supreme Court on Thursday, February 11, 2021, ruled that Jean Mensa cannot be compelled to testify in the ongoing election petition trial.
Mensa who was the returning officer in the disputed 2020 presidential elections, was expected to mount the witness box to be cross-examined by the lawyers for the petitioner, John Mahama, in the trial.
Justin Amenuvor, the lawyer for the EC informed the court that he would not call any witnesses, arguing that the three witnesses called by the petitioner had not satisfied the burden of proof when they appeared before the court.
Tsatsu Tsikata who is the petitioner’s lead counsel however objected to the EC lawyer’s moves.
He argued that the EC chair cannot be shielded from cross-examination after signing the witness statement the first respondent put in the trial.
However, delivering the ruling of the seven-member panel hearing the case, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah said the court has no say in whether a party should testify or not.
Listing some cases to support the court’s ruling, the Chief Justice added that a party to a case cannot be forced to induce evidence.
He further noted that the defendant has a right not to induce evidence after the petitioner had closed his case.
The Chief Justice further said the petitioner “bears the burden of proof” and it is after this that the petitioner can shift that burden.
Meanwhile, a private legal practitioner, Ace Anan Ankomah opined that the petitioner cannot hang the destiny of his case on what his opponents might or might not do in court.
“If you go to court alleging that something has or has not happened, the burden is on you to provide the evidence,” he stated in an op-ed titled: ‘He Who Alleges Must Prove’.
On another hand, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko advised Tsikata to admit he was outmaneuvered in the ongoing trial.
“Tsatsu should simply admit that he’s been outsmarted!” the leading member of the governing NPP wrote.
The NDC flagbearer John Dramani Mahama petitioned the Supreme Court to order a second round of the December 7, election.
According to him, the votes obtained by NPP’s candidate, President Nana Akufo-Addo, and himself in the December 7, election as declared by the EC Chair were not enough for a candidate to be declared the winner.
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