Politics

Jean Mensa can’t be forced to mount witness box – Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has said that the Chair of the Electoral Commission (EC), Jean Adukwei Mensa, and Campaign Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in last year’s elections Peter Mac Manu cannot be compelled to mount the witness box to be cross-examined in the ongoing election petition hearing.

The apex court said this on Thursday, February 11 when delivering its ruling on whether or not Mrs Adukwei Mensa should mount the witness box to be cross-examined.

During proceedings on Tuesday, February 9, lawyers for the 1st and 2nd respondents, Justin Amenuvor and Akoto Ampaw respectively, told the Court that the petitioner cannot compel them to elect witnesses to appear in the witness box.

During legal arguments 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.”

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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

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.

Mr Tsikata, for his part, told the court during the legal arguments that the chair of the 1st Respondent, Jean Mensa, cannot skip cross-examination.

He 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.

But the court dismissed his objection on the heels that a witness cannot be compelled to mount the witness box.

Meanwhile, Mr Tsikata after the court ruling served notice to re-open his case to enable him subpoena Mrs Adukwei Mensa.

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