- According to the court, the application is not given on “compassionate grounds”
- The petitioner was seeking the court’s leave to reopen his case to subpoena the chairperson of the EC into the witness box
- For him, attempts to shield the EC chair from mounting the box for cross-examination would embolden public officials to misbehave knowing they will go scot-free
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The Supreme Court has dismissed John Dramani Mahama’s application to reopen his case in the ongoing 2020 election petition trial.
The lead counsel for the former president, Tsatsu Tsikata, informed the court on Thursday, February 12, 2021, that he wished to reopen the former president’s case.
This would allow the former president, the petitioner in the case, to subpoena the chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Mensa, into the witness box for cross-examination.
Ruling on reopening of the case: Explaining the court’s reasons for dismissing the petitioner’s application to reopen his case, the Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah, described as “baffling” the intimation by counsel for the petitioner that he intended to call the chairperson of the first respondent as an adverse witness.
He said a witness who has not yet entered the witness box to testify cannot be called an adverse or hostile witness under any circumstances.
The Chief Justice further observed that the court exercises its inherent jurisdiction inter-alia to correct errors in procedure and to ensure that no miscarriage of justice is occasioned during a trial.
However, the petitioner “has not demonstrated to us in any way that the decision of the respondent not to testify which was upheld by this court in its ruling of 11 February 2021 has occasioned in any miscarriage of justice.”
Honouring God: Tsikata told the court during his argument in favour of the petitioner's case that Mensa’s testimony would honour the God she gave glory to before declaring the 2020 presidential election results.
He said the truth of what transpired in the EC’s Strong Room was essential to the case, thus the need for Mensa to testify.
“My Lords, the chairperson [Jean Mensah] should come out to testify and to honour the God she claimed she serves,” he stated.
Failing the petitioner: However, Akoto Ampaw, the lawyer for President Nana Akufo-Addo retorted that had Tsikata and his team “thought through fully” the case of the respondents, they would have anticipated the strategy not to call witnesses.
“Right from the beginning of filing our answers, we had served notice to them and the court that we think that they didn’t have any case for us to be even heard,” Ampaw stated.
“So, they must have had notice that it was likely if they fail to lead sufficient evidence that we would not adduce any evidence and consistent with our original and primary position, we would ask the court to determine the matter on the evidence before it,” he added.
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