Election Petition: Supreme Court sets 16 February to rule on John Mahama’s case reopening motion
The seven-member Supreme Court panel adjudicating the 2020 election petition has set Tuesday (16 February 2021) to rule on an application by John Mahama, seeking to reopen his case in order to call the Electoral Commission chairperson, Jean Mensa, as a “hostile witness” in support of his case.
When the court constituted on Monday, lead counsel for the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata, argued that the petitioner was taken aback by the decision of the respondents in the case not to call their witnesses any longer because they did not believe the petitioner had made a case that warranted a response from them.
He further noted that the application is seeking leave from the court to reopen his client’s case to afford him an opportunity to subpoena Mensa to testify as a hostile witness.
This leave is granted, according to the petitioner’s lawyer, will go a long way to clarify certain issues that are of great importance to them.
Lawyers for the respondents vehemently opposed the application of the petitioner. According to the First Respondent’s lawyer, Justin Amenuvor, the instant application before the court, is an attempt on the part of the petitioner to call his adversary to testify on his behalf. Amenuvor told the court that if this prayer were to be granted, it would amount to collapsing the adversarial litigation system of Ghana.
The application, he further indicated, is an abuse of the court process established in 1876 when Ghana received the Common Law in its jurisdiction.
The lead lawyer for the second respondent, Akoto Ampaw, on his part submitted in court that the application of the petitioner seeking the permission of the court to reopen his case is an attempt to adduce fresh evidence in the case after he had, on his own, called three witnesses and closed his case thereafter.
He argued that the ruling governing the grant of such an application is two-fold; firstly, that the fresh evidence was not available and could not have been discovered by the petitioner even with the highest level of due diligence. Secondly, that the evidence he intends to adduce would have a material effect on their case.
“It is our submission that the petitioner has not been able to demonstrate that his latest application meets these high thresholds set out in law for the application to be granted,” Ampaw told the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court panel comprising Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, Justices Yaw Appau, Samuel Marful-Sau, Nene Amegatcher, Nii Ashie Kotey, Mariama Owusu, and Gertrude Torkonoo, after hearing the parties in the case, adjourned sitting to tomorrow, Tuesday 16 February 2021 for its ruling.