Election Petition: Exposing 2nd Respondent’s vile Propaganda on Filing of Witness Statements

Spokesmen and legal team of the 2nd respondent are up to something mischievous – they have set out to mislead the unsuspecting public to believe that the Petitioner and his lawyers are only in court to play mind games and not necessarily to lead evidence on the processes they have filed. I just chanced on an opinion rendered by one of them who is said to be legal counsel to President Akufo-Addo. He argued that the petitioner has disregarded the order of the court to file witness statement for hearing of the petition to start today. He went on further to say that, though the petitioner had indicated that it would call five witnesses, no witness statement had been filed for any of the five,and he hastily concluded that the Petitioner wanted to base the witness statement on the response of the 1st respondent had the application for interrogatories been granted.

Clearly, the 2nd respondent and his team are overly worried. And this happens when you don’t really know the strategy your opponent has adopted to prosecute his case. They have been on an unending expedition to figure out exactly what the petitioner intends to do with the number of processes filed so far butto know avail. Any serious lawyer knows that the Petitioner has not abused any of the rules of court ( I’ll come to this shortly).

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It is public knowledge that the petitioner has a review application before the court. It is also on record that the petitioner has filed another process, seeking leave of the court to amend portions of his grounds for the review application. The respondents, and Ghanaian who are following the election petition hearing, are aware the petitioner has filed an application for stay of proceedings which will be heard later today. Question is, what is the purpose of filing an application for stay of proceedings and the other processes? The application for stay of proceedings is intended to pray the court to grant an order that will halt proceedings until the other applications before it are determined.

In practice, and every lawyer knows this, that when there is matter before a court for determination and the court gives an order to be complied with before the next adjourn date, the compliance of that order is determinant on whether a party will file an interlocutory application before the adjourn date. So in this case, the Supreme Court at the last adjourn date ordered the parties to file witness statements. We are told that the 1st and 2nd respondents have file their witness statements but the petitioner has not. Strangely, a legal counsel to the President says this amounts to abuse of the rules of court and disregard of the Court’s orders. One Dennis Adjei Dwomoh was reported to have said the Court may dismiss the entire petition because the petitioner filed other applications instead of filing witness statement. Respectfully, this is plainly legal absurdity and an attempt to romance the egos of Party supporters.

Immediately it came to light that the petitioner had filed an application for review of the Court’s decision on the interrogatories, it became apparent that the 26th Jan date the Court set for hearing to start will be missed. Moreso, when the Court ordered for witness statements to be filed, the petitioner proceeded to file an application for stay of proceedings. The effect is that, these interlocutory applications will ‘stay’ proceedings and until they are determined, the Court may not proceed to hear the substantive case. In ordinary parlance, the stay of proceedings, application for review, application seeking leave to amend the review application and others, immediately filed, automatically ‘stayed’ proceedings until they are finally determined.

The Petitioner, having filed an application for stay of proceedings, does not necessarily need to comply with the Court’s order to file witness statement. This is basic practice procedure in our courts. The filing of the Petitioner’s witness statement will be after hearing of the various applications. If you hear the NPP attack lead counsel for the Petitioner in the manner they are doing, just know that he is doing something that they are not comfortable with.

See you after today’s hearing

Amorse Blessing Amos
Deputy Greater Accra Regional Youth Organizer -NDC

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