The strategy not to call any witness in the ongoing 2020 election petition is a masterstroke and has disturbed the camp of the petitioner, a spokesperson for the 2nd respondent has said.
Speaking in an interview on Asaase Radio on Wednesday (10 February), Nana Adjoa Adobea Asante, a lawyer and spokesperson for the respondent said “With regards to this surprise as to how the counsel for the petitioner and the petitioner would prefer that the 1st and 2nd respondents’ witness to mounting the witness box, we are still trying to wrap our head around that because if you have believed in your matter and the evidence that you have adduced then you should be happy if the lawyers of the other side decided not to call any witnesses because it means the court is only going to consider your evidence.”
Adobea Asante added, “…as lawyers we have the arsenals that we deploy at certain times in a case and we have decided to deliver this masterstroke. It has really sunk well and we are happy with the way this strategy has disturbed the camp of our opponents. So we happy the way things are going…”
After the cross-examination of Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo, the third witness for the petitioner by Akoto Ampaw, counsel for the second respondent, and Justin Amenuvor, counsel for the first respondent, Tsatsu Tsikata informed the court that, they have closed their cases.
Counsel for the respondents had initially indicated to the court that they would call one witness each for which witness statements were filed but later disclosed that they do not intend to call those witnesses anymore.
It will be recalled that on Monday, the lawyer for the EC, Justin Amenuvor, served notice that he will not be calling any witnesses because the petitioner in the view of the EC, has not put up any evidence that has been challenged or defended by the 1st respondent (EC) in the case.
According to him, he based his decision on Order 36, Rule 4(3) of CI 47, which states that; “Where the defendant elects not to adduce evidence, then, whether or not the defendant has in the course of cross-examination of a witness for the plaintiff or otherwise put in a document, the plaintiff may, after the evidence on behalf of the plaintiff has been given, close the plaintiff’s case and the defendant may then state the case of the defendant”.
When the court reconstituted on Tuesday (9 February 2021), counsel for the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata, in his address argued that Jean Mensa must be in the witness box at all cost because it is in the interest of justice.
According to him, the position taken by the first respondent is a clear case of evading cross-examination.
Tsikata contended that as the person responsible for the declaration of presidential results, Mensa owes it to Ghanaians to be accounted to them after the 7 December elections.
He noted that the EC chair had in her affidavits given a clear indication that she will be available for cross-examination based on which the court ruled against his application for interrogatories.
Happy with proceedings
Adobea Asante said the 2nd respondent is happy with the proceedings in court so far. “With the way, proceedings have gone on in court, we are happy with the way the matter has proceeded.
“There have been a lot of delays at the instant of the petitioner which is quite curious because they are the ones who brought the matter to court and they should rather be in a hurry for the final determination of the matter. We are happy that things are proceeding quite fast as compared to how it was in the beginning,” she said
The Supreme Court will rule on Thursday (11 February 2021) whether Jean Mensa, the EC chair should testify or otherwise.