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"You Cannot Reopen Your Case" – Supreme Court Dismisses Mahama’s Application

The Supreme Court has in a unanimous decision dismissed an application by the 2020 NDC presidential candidate seeking leave to reopen his case.

John Mahama, who is the petitioner, had urged the court to grant his request saying he intends to subpoena EC Chairperson, Jean Mensa to testify.

His application follows an earlier ruling by the apex court that it cannot compel a party in a case to adduce evidence if the party does not want to do so.

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But arguing his case yesterday, lead counsel for Mr Mahama, Tsatsu Tsikata said they were taken by surprise when the EC Chairperson opted not to testify after submitting a witness statement, hence the decision to reopen the case and ask for a subpoena.

He insists that there are also allegations that came up during the cross-examination of their witnesses and these are matters only the EC Chairperson can speak to.

Giving further arguments before the ruling today, Lawyer Tsikata said he has listed new authorities that will back claims that the Chairperson is an individual and therefore can be subpoenaed.

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But this request had been opposed by lawyers for the EC and President Akufo-Addo; the 1st and 2nd Respondents in the election petition hearing. Both sides insist that the petitioner is simply seeking to use the back door to boost a petition he has failed woefully to prove.

The two counsels further argued that if the quest is to provide new evidence, then Mr. Mahama’s team has failed to demonstrate that there is a piece of evidence they can extract from the EC Chairperson with the potential to materially affect how the case is determined.

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Backing this stance, Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah who read the ruling said the petitioner has not indicated how the evidence he intends to solicit from the EC Chairperson will help to determine the case.

Again the Chief Justice emphasized that the success of the petitioner’s case is dependent on his evidence and therefore the decision to close his case was not based on the fact that Madam Jean Mensa had filed a witness statement and was to testify.

He also stated that the arguments raised by the counsel for the petitioner are almost the same as those raised in the objection to the 1st Respondent’s decision not to call a witness; thus Section 26 of the Evidence Act is not applicable in this case.

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The Chief Justice concluded by explaining that the EC Chairperson is not on trial hence she cannot be asked to vindicate herself.

The hearing has been adjourned to Wednesday, February 17.

Credit: Myjoyonline.com