Tsatsu Tsikata unhappy with rushed trial by Supreme Court judges in election petition

Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, Jean Adukwei Mensa Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, Jean Adukwei Mensa

Lawyer for former President John Dramani Mahama in the ongoing election petition case at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, challenged the timelines announced by the Supreme Court for the hearing of the petition, suggesting that the court seems to be rushing the case.

The Supreme Court has set out five issues for determination in the election petition filed by Mr Mahama, the National Democratic Congress' (NDC) presidential candidate in the 2020 polls.

"The timeline that is provided for us to have witness statements does not seem to be justified… I do know about the schedule provided, but I also know that your lordships are here to administer justice and that justice should not be sacrificed for expedition," Tsatsu Tsikata said in court on Wednesday, 20th, January 2021.

The Supreme Court also set out modalities within which the petition will be conducted.

But Mr. Tsikata among other things wanted the court to factor what he said were some "outstanding issues" in the timeline but that was not done.

He cited a fresh application filed by his team for a review of the court's January 19, 2021 ruling on their interrogatories as an example of what should have been factored in the timelines.

He also suggested that the time allocated for the filing of witness statements was inadequate.

But Justice Yaw Appau differed in view.

According to him, the application for a review of the court's judgement on the interrogatories of the petitioner does not amount to a stay of execution hence the case can still go on without a decision from the requested review.

Meanwhile, the Court has adjourned to Tuesday, January 26, 2021, for hearing to commence on the substantive petition.

Roadmap for the timeline of the hearing were given as;

1.Mode of trial – The petitioner and their witnesses shall file witness statements with exhibits if any, by 12 noon of Thursday, January 21, 2021.

2. The witness statements shall be filed on the counsel for the respondents by close of day on Thursday, January 21.

3. The respondents and their witnesses, if any, shall file their witness statements with exhibits, if any by close of day on Friday, January 22, 2021.

4. The first and second respondents shall file their submissions on the preliminary objections raised to the petition by 12 noon on Friday, January 22, 2021.

5. The registrar shall ensure service of the preliminary objections by close of day, Friday, January 22, 2021.

6. The petitioner shall file any response to the submission of the preliminary objections by noon on Monday, January 25, 2021.

7. The registrar shall ensure service of the petitioner's response by close of day on Monday, January 25, 2021.

8. The ruling on the preliminary objections would be incorporated in the judgement of the court.

9. The court shall sit on Tuesday, January 26, 2021, for the hearing of this petition.

Source: The Herald