This is a court of law, not a forum for depositions – Supreme Court dismisses Mahama’s review application

This is a court of law, not a forum for depositions – Supreme Court dismisses Mahama’s review application

- The court has affirmed its earlier ruling that the chairperson of the EC cannot be compelled to give testimony in the case

- 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 former President John Mahama’s application for review after the court rejected his motion to reopen his case.

Mahama wished to reopen his case to subpoena the chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Mensa, into the witness box for cross-examination.

But, the court dismissed that application.

The lawyers for the former president led by Tsatsu Tsikata disagreed with the court’s ruling and applied for a review.

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After hours of arguments from counsel for both parties in the case and deliberations from the nine-member panel, the Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah, delivered the court’s ruling on Monday, February 22, 2021.

According to rule 54, which provides the grounds for review; the Court may review any decision made or given by it on the following grounds

(a) Exceptional circumstances which have resulted in miscarriage of justice;

(b) Discovery of new and important matter or evidence which, after the exercise of due diligence, was not within the applicant's knowledge or could not be produced by him.

According to the Chief Justice, a case can be allowed to reopen only when the above mentioned criteria was satisfied.

He said there is no provision in the constitution or statute that shows that the EC boss can be subjected to different rules contrary to established rules of procedure and settled practice.

The Chief Justice said Jean Mensa is not a party to the suit and therefore, whether or not to testify was not her decision but that of the Electoral Commission.

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He said the court found no merit in the argument made by the counsel for the petitioner that the court did not rule in accordance with the laws of the land but rather the black dictionary which is a subsidiary.

“The review jurisdiction is a special jurisdiction to be exercised in exceptional circumstances. It is not an appellate jurisdiction. It is a kind of jurisdiction held in reserve…when a fundamental and basic error may have inadvertently been committed by the court…which error must have occasioned a gross miscarriage of justice.

The review jurisdiction was intended as a try on by a party after losing an appeal…nor is it an automatic misstep from appeal neither is it meant to be resorted to as an emotional reaction to an unfortunate or unfavourable judgement,” he stated.

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Source: Yen

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