The seven-member panel of the Supreme Court has ruled that the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa is free not to testify in the ongoing election petition.
The two respondents on Tuesday made the application to the apex court arguing among other reasons that the petitioner had not sufficiently discharged on his obligation to prove the issues raised for determination.
The ruling follows three hours of legal arguments on Tuesday between lawyers for the respondents, Justin Amenuvor and Akoto Ampaw, and the petitioner’s lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata.
The Supreme Court has in a unanimous decision upheld the application by the 1st and 2nd Respondents not to call any witnesses in the ongoing election petition hearing.
Citing Order 38, rule 3 (e) sub-rule 1 and 5 of CI 47 as amended by CI 87, the two counsels had argued that the burden of proof in the petition hearing lies on the petitioner and therefore it will be wrong for the lead counsel for Mr. John Mahama to induce evidence from the Chairperson of the EC, Jean Mensa.
But disputing these arguments, lead counsel for the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata said since the lawyers have not made a submission of no case, the burden of proof does not apply as argued by the lawyers for the EC and Akufo-Addo.
He also explained that the EC Chairperson has a constitutional duty to give accounts of events that led to the December 9, 2020 election declarations and to clarify how some errors were made.
But siding with the respondents in its verdict, the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin -Yeboah said submitting a witness statement does not constitute evidence until the witness enters the box and takes the oath to indicate reliance on it
Again, the depositions in affidavit in opposition to interrogatories cannot make respondent compellable.
He explained that no provision in the constitution or statute has been pointed out to show the EC chairperson is subject to different rules contrary to settled rules of procedure and settled practice.
Chief Justice Anin Yeboah also sided with the respondents that the burden of proof lies on the petitioner and can only be shifted when that condition has been satified.
He says the court does not a
Court cannot compel a party to give evidence
Court says there is no such law that empowers it to compel a witness to testify.