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Jean swerves Tsatsu again …won’t go into the box

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Revered legal brain, Tsatsu Tsikata, has once again not been successful in his quest to get pretty-faced Jean Mensa, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) into the witness box to adduce evidence and be cross examined by him in the ongoing petition filed at the Supreme Court by former President John Mahama, challenging the authenticity of the declared results of the December 2020 presidential polls.

The apex court had earlier ruled that the laws cannot compel a party in a case adduce evidence if the party does not want to do so.

Mr. Tsikata, lead counsel for the petitioner, obviously not content with the ruling gave his intention another try when he filed a motion by John Mahama praying that the court allow him to reopen his case in order to call Mrs. Jean Mensa, into the witness box in support of his case.

When the apex court sat yesterday, Tuesday February 16, it unanimously dismissed Mr. Tsikata’s motion which implied that for the second time, it had ruled that the first respondent, Jean Mensa cannot be compelled to adduce evidence or be forced to be cross examined.

Mr. Tsikata had told the court that there was a critical need for the case to be reopened and Jean Mensa subpoenaed to go into the witness box as a “hostile witness” when he is allowed to reopen the case.

The court giving its unanimous ruling, said John Mahama, being the petitioner, had not convinced the court with the sort of evidence he needs from Jean Mensa and how that evidence will help in the final determination of the case.

“A witness who has not yet entered the witness box to testify cannot, therefore, be called an adverse or hostile witness under any circumstance. The petitioner has not demonstrated to us in any way that the decision of the respondents not to testify which was upheld by this court in its ruling on February 11, 2021, has occasioned any miscarriage of justice,” Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah read on behalf of the seven-member Supreme Court panel.

He continued: “The rules permit a party to call or not to call a witness who has filed a witness statement to testify, as the mere filing of a witness statement does not constitute an election to testify as we rightly held in our ruling on February 11, 2021. Again, the petitioner did not decide to close his case after the testimony of his third witness just because the chairperson of the first respondent has filed her witness statement. This is because, in law, a plaintiff or petitioner does not require evidence from his or her adversary in a system like ours to prove his or her case… The plaintiff or the petitioner succeeds on the strengths of his or her own case and not the weakness of his or her adversaries’ case.”

TENACIOUS TSATSU FIGHTS ON

Mr. Tsikata, still pushing to get his request, has filed two new applications at the Supreme Court following the dismissal of the motion that prayed the courts to allow him reopen his case and get Jean Mensa into the box.

The applications are a review of the ruling by the court on February 11, that the first respondent cannot be compelled to mount the witness box and a stay of proceedings pending the hearing of the review application.

Chief Justice Anin Yeboah said the court will move the motions for the two applications filed by the petitioner after a date has been given by the registrar.

The Court had earlier ordered the lawyers in the case to file their closing addresses by Wednesday, February 17, 2021.

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