Lead counsel for the petitioner in the 2020 Presidential Petition hearing, Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata, in a heated exchange with some justices on the bench hearing the petition in Supreme Court, escalated to a point where Tsikata had to demand to answer a question at a time.
Mr. Tsikata was arguing his case as to why the 1st and 2nd Respondents cannot close their cases without further adducing evidence as they moved motions to do on Monday, February 8.
Lawyers for the 1st and 2nd Respondents on Monday moved motions to close their cases without calling further witnesses after the petitioner had moved to his close following the discharge of his 3rd witness.
Mr. Tsikata raised an objection against the applications and insisted the chair of the 1st Respondent EC must enter the witness box and be cross-examined.
The court fixed Tuesday for all parties to advance their legal arguments for the court to decide on.
However, there was a dramatic encounter when Mr. Tsikata took his turn to make his arguments.
For the most parts of his arguments, members of the bench interjected either to seek clarity or to draw his attention to something he may have overlooked. It got to a point where Mr. Tsikata was answering a question posed to him by one of the Justices. While at it, another Justice asked him another question. A seemly incensed Tsikata demanded he be allowed to answer one question at a time.
“Please, can I answer to you one at a time!”, he demanded.
He then proceeded to make his arguments insisting the EC chair must enter the witness box to testify to her witness statement that she signed.
Meanwhile the Supreme Court has adjourned hearing of the presidential elections to Thursday February 11 to give their ruling on whether or not the Chair of the Electoral Commission (EC) Jean Mensa and also the witness of the 2nd Respondent, Mr Peter Mac Manu should appear in the witness box to be cross-examined.
During proceedings on Tuesday February 9, Lawyer for the 2nd respondent Akoto Ampaw told the Court that the petitioner cannot compel them to elect a witness to appear in the witness box.
During legal arguments on Tuesday, February 9 on a move by the respondents not to testify in the case, Mr Akoto Ampaw told the Court: “The petitioner cannot compel us to enter the witness box to adduce evidence.”
He added: “The petitioner has adduced evidence and closed his case. We have taken the position that in our assessment, they have not discharged the burden of proof and the burden of producing evidence and, therefore, we will not give further evidence and the Court will determine the case on the evidence before it.
“We are entitled not adduce any evidence, we are entitled not to call any witness.”
Lawyers for the two respondents on Monday, February 8 moved to close their cases without their witnesses being cross-examined.
This was after Counsel for the petitioner Tsatsu Tsikata closed his case.
Tsikata for his part told the court that the chair of the 1st Respondent, Jean Mensa cannot skip cross-examination.
Mr Tsatsu argued that by filing a witness statement, the 1st Respondent has opened her up for cross examination.
“It is our respectful submission that by filing its witness statement the first respondent has clearly crossed the bridge as far as opening the witness up for cross-examination is concerned. That bridge has been crossed, the ship has already been sailed,” Tsatsu said in his argument to the bench.
Asked by one of the justices, Professor Nii Ashie Quartey, whether or not Jean Mensa cannot change her mind to testify, Tsatsu answered “The court has the power to disallow that change of mind.”
After hearing the arguments from the lawyers, the Chief Justice adjourned the case to Thursday for a ruling on the matter.