Counsels for Petitioners fined 50 Cedis as Petitioner witness 3(Pw3) throws the court into laughter- Court Report

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The Judicial Board hearing the election petition challenging the results of the April 9th 2015 University of Ghana S.R.C Elections continued with its proceedings on Saturday April 9th and Sunday April 10th 2015.
Saturday April 25th 2015
The Board expected the petitioners to open their case with their opening statement. This however delayed due to a directive of the court which had not been obeyed. At the Board’s previous sitting, counsel for the second respondent Benyin M.Fred had requested that the petitioners furnish his team with further and better particulars. This had still not been done at the start of proceedings. Counsel for the Petitioners, Barnabas Abisa sought to argue on technical grounds that the request had not been addressed to his outfit. The Board ruled in favor of the second respondent and ordered the legal team of the petitioners to comply with the orders of the court and provide the documents to the Second respondent. Sitting still did not progress as the petitioners made some further objections. They first objected to the qualification of Kofi Timtooni Opare Hagan as a member of the legal team of the second respondent. Counsel Abisa argued on the basis of Article 49 of the SRC constitution which enabled anyone appearing before the Board to have the right to a counsel. He prayed that if that was interpreted a counsel must be member of the Faculty of Law of University of Ghana. The counsels for the first and second respondents disagreed with this objection. Both aside the legal arguments, accused the counsels of the petitioners of trying to delay the court process. The court after a recess ruled in favor of the petitioners that Kofi Hagan could serve as a member of the research team of the second respondent but could not be introduced as a member of their legal team.
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Derrick Ackah, a member of the legal team of the petitioners then rose to raise another objection. He argued that it was not appropriate for the SRC Legal advisor to represent the Electoral Commission because it was an autonomous institution. The Board over-ruled this objection after responses from the first and second respondents all against the objection. The court then directed Counsel Abisa to proceed with his opening statement. This highlighted issues already spelt out in the petition filed at the Court. The first and second respondent also gave their opening statement which was a disagreement with all the claims being made by the Petitioners. The court then asked the petitioners to introduce their witness. At this stage, the counsel for the Electoral Commission prayed that the Court adjourns sitting. Counsels of the Petitioner and second respondent agreed with this plea and the Board duly adjourned sitting to Sunday April 26th.
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Sunday April 26, 2015
Proceedings for this day started at about 3:20 pm instead of the scheduled 2:30 pm. The presiding Justice, George Anti, lamented about counsels not being punctual for court sittings. Counsel Benyin who represents the second respondent reminded the court that his team had still not received the further and better particulars from the petitioners. Counsel Abisa who represents the petitioners reminded the Bench that even their request for the judgment of the court that ruled for the second respondent to join the suit had still not been given to them. He argued that in the same vein, they were also constrained with time and that the document was still not ready. This did not go down well with the bench and the bench decided to fine Abisa’s team 50 cedis and directed them to make the particulars available by Tuesday April 28th 2015. Counsel Abisa then applied for an order of discovery to compel The Electoral Commission to make available some data regarding the elections which was in the custody of the Commission. The Bench reminded him of an earlier ruling that dealt with this but had not been obeyed by all parties. The Bench admonished the parties and directed them to do so.
The petitioners then introduced Petitioners Witness 3 referred to as PW3. Counsel for E.C Amable and Counsel Benyin objected to PW3 being introduced. They argued that the court had agreed that PW1 was to be introduced first. Counsel Ackah in responding for the Petitioners argued that in the event Pw1 and Pw2 had been introduced first, wouldn’t the other counsels cross-examine Pw3 when it was his turn. The Bench saw the move as an element of surprise and advised counsels not to repeat such moves.
Pw3 who was the Presiding officer for Commonwealth Hall was then cross-examined by the counsel for the E.C. The high point of the brief cross examination was when Pw3 stated that he checked the results of the election for his polling station after which he allowed a voter to cast his vote. This threw the House into laughter. He alleged that contrary to the results that returned Mikdad Mohammed as obtaining more votes at Commonwealth Hall, Davis Ohene Fobi was rather leading by over 500 votes as at the time he viewed the results.
Sitting has been adjourned to Monday April 27th at 6pm at the SRC Conference Room.
NB; Petitioners –Jeffrey Kwabena Yeboah
-Worlu Great Damzi
First respondent-Electoral Commision
Second Respondent-Davis Ohene Fobi
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Joseph Kofi Frimpong Ackah-Blay

Posted by Joseph Kofi Frimpong Ackah-Blay

Writer|Social Critic|Patriotic Ghanaian|Nationalist and committed to African values|Radio Show host @Radio Univers 105.7| Student at University of Ghana|Twitter:@BlayAckah|Facebook:Kofi Frimpong Ackah-Blay|E-mail-j.ackahblay74@gmail.com

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