Supreme Court blesses Jean Mensa’s escape from Tsatsu’s cross-examination

Supreme Court blesses Jean Mensa’s escape from Tsatsu’s cross-examination

Electoral Commissioner, Jean Adukwei Mensa will not be cross-examined by lawyers of the Petitioner in the 2020 Election Petition, the Supreme Court has said.

In a resounding ruling Thursday, the apex court said the critical rule that is applicable in a situation when a defendant refuses to open their case is Order 38 rule 3(e) of Constitutional Instrument (C.I.) 87.

The Supreme Court overruled the objection raised by Tsatsu Tsikata against the decision of lawyers of the two Respondents, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Electoral Commission not to call their witnesses.

The Election Petition was filed by the 2020 Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama who is challenging the declaration of Mr Akufo-Addo as the winner of the December 7 presidential poll.

Lead counsel for the Electoral Commission, Justin Amenuvor surprised lawyers of the Petitioner on Tuesday when he said they do not intend to open their case and requested that their Witness Statement submitted on the orders of the Supreme Court be treated as hearsay.

But lawyers for the Petitioner argued strenuously that because the Respondents, especially the Electoral Commission have submitted their Witness Statements it means that they had elected to adduce evidence.

The issue faced the apex court was whether or not having filed those Witness Statements in compliance with the direction of the Supreme Court, the Respondents had elected to call their witnessness.

Citing Order 38 rule 3 of C.I. 87, Supreme Court said that even though the Respondents had filed their Witness Statements they could not be compelled to open their case.

The rule provides an opportunity for defendants to file a Witness Statement and choose to put it in as hearsay.

What the apex court’s ruling means is that the only evidence before the judges is the one adduced by the Petitioner, Mr Mahama on whose shoulder the evidentiary burden of proof rests.

The case has been adjourned to Thursday, February 18, 2021, for the Petitioner to highlight his presentation for the court’s judgment on a later date.

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