The legal team of John Dramani Mahama in his ongoing Election Petition, says the Supreme Court’s ruling not to allow him to reopen over the thorny matter of getting the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Mensa into the witness box to testify and gets cross-examined through a subpoena application, was wrong.
The decision means that, the 2020 victory of the President Akufo-Addo, who boasts of writing the NPP 1992 stolen verdict against the late Jerry John Rawlings election victory in that year’s election, remains tainted and of dubious validity as the returning officer, has refused to speak to her numbers which she several times changed.
According to Dr. Dominic Ayine, one of the spokespersons of Mr Mahama, the petitioner, the apex court used wrong legal premises in ruling on the matter.
Dr. Ayine, made this known while interacting with the media after the court hearing yesterday.
He said, although his team is disappointed with the ruling, they are bound to respect it.
“This morning the Supreme Court gave a ruling in respect of our motion to reopen the petitioner’s case. That motion was filed a few days ago with a view to having the opportunity to reopen our case and have the chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Adukwei Mensa testify in our case. We wanted her to come and testify as an adverse witness which is allowed under the rules.”
“It was our strategy to serve a subpoena on her, since she has decided not to give testimony even after filing a witness statement.
But the Supreme Court has given a decision in which it basically said she’ll not be compelled to testify. In our view, the court was wrong and the reasons of the court were based on wrong legal premises, but the Supreme Court is the final decision maker when it comes to the law in the country, and we are bound by what it has said.”
The Supreme Court yesterday, turned down a request by Mr Mahama, flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), to have the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Mensa, cross-examined through a subpoena application.
Lead counsel for Mahama, TsatsuTsikata, had earlier described Jean Mensa as a hostile witness for deciding not to testify in the election petition case.
MrTsikata, who had earlier closed his client’s case had wanted it reopened after the Supreme Court upheld the decision by the first and second respondents – the EC and President Akufo-Addo – not to call any witness.
He also, was seeking a decision from the court to subpoena Jean Mensa in case the application to reopen his client’s case was upheld.
The justices of the Supreme Court, explained that Jean Mensa cannot be tagged as a hostile witness, because she had not yet mounted the witness box in the ongoing case.
The Supreme Court subsequently rejected MrTsikata’s request for the case to be reopened and also to have Jean Mensa put in the witness box.
The justices of the apex court, indicated that the petitioner failed to meet the threshold for which leave can be granted for a party to reopen their case to adduce further evidence.
“A witness who has not yet entered the witness box to testify cannot, therefore, be called an adverse or hostile witness under any circumstance. The petitioner has not demonstrated to us in any way that the decision of the respondents not to testify which was upheld by this court in its ruling on February 11, 2021, has occasioned any miscarriage of justice,” Chief KwasiAnin-Yeboah, read on behalf of the seven-member Supreme Court panel on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.
“The rules permit a party to call or not to call a witness who has filed a witness statement to testify, as the mere filing of a witness statement does not constitute an election to testify as we rightly held in our ruling on February 11, 2021. Again, the petitioner did not decide to close his case after the testimony of his third witness just because the chairperson of the first respondent has filed her witness statement.
This is because, in law, a plaintiff or petitioner does not require evidence from his or her adversary in a system like ours to prove his or her case… The plaintiff or the petitioner succeeds on the strengths of his or her own case and not the weakness of his or her adversaries’ case.”
Meanwhile, MrTsikata, says his team has filed for a review of the court’s ruling that upheld the decision of the EC Chairperson not to testify in court.
The petitioner, has also served notice of filing for a stay of proceedings.
The Supreme Court, had earlier ordered the lawyers in the case to file their closing addresses by today Wednesday, February 17, 2021.