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Our strategy not to call witnesses is a masterstroke, says spokeswoman for second respondent

A spokeswoman for the second respondent says his counsel’s strategy has disturbed the petitioner’s camp in the case ongoing at the Supreme Court

The strategy not to call any witnesses in the 2020 election petition is a masterstroke and has disturbed the petitioner’s camp, a spokeswoman for the second respondent has said.

Speaking on The Asaase Breakfast Show (ABS) on Wednesday (10 February), Nana Adjoa Adobea Asante, a lawyer and spokeswoman for the respondent, said: “With regard to this surprise as to how the counsel for the petitioner and the petitioner would prefer that the first and second respondents’ witness mount the witness box, we are still trying to wrap our head around that.

“Because if you believe in your matter and the evidence that you have adduced, then you should be happy if the lawyers of the other side decide not to call any witnesses, because it means the court is only going to consider your evidence.”

She added: “… as lawyers, we have our arsenals that we deploy at certain times in a case and we have decided to deliver this masterstroke. It has really sunk in well and we are happy with the way this strategy has disturbed the camp of our opponents. So we are happy the way things are going …”

No call: their call

After the cross-examination of Robert Joseph Mettle-Nunoo, the third witness for the petitioner, by Akoto Ampaw, lead counsel for the second respondent, and Justin Amenuvor, lead counsel for the first respondent, Tsatsu Tsikata informed the court that the petitioner’s side had closed its case.

Counsel for the respondents had initially told the court that they would call one witness each, for which witness statements were filed, but they later announced that they no longer intended to call those witnesses.

It will be recalled that on Monday, the EC’s lawyer Justin Amenuvor served notice that he will not be calling any witnesses because the petitioner, in the EC’s view, has not put up any evidence that has been challenged or defended by the first respondent (the EC) in the case.

Amenuvor said he was basing his decision on Order 36, Rule 4(3) of CI 47, which states: “Where the defendant elects not to adduce evidence, then, whether or not the defendant has in the course of cross-examination of a witness for the plaintiff or otherwise put in a document, the plaintiff may, after the evidence on behalf of the plaintiff has been given, close the plaintiff’s case and the defendant may then state the case of the defendant.”

When the court reconvened on Tuesday (9 February), Tsatsu Tsikata, counsel for the petitioner, argued in his address that Jean Mensa must appear in the witness box at all costs, because it is in the interests of justice.

The position taken by the first respondent is a clear case of evading cross-examination, he said.

Tsikata contended that, as the person responsible for declaring presidential election results, Mensa owes it to Ghanaians to account to them after the 7 December polls.

He argued that the EC chair had, in her affidavits, given a clear indication that she would be available for cross-examination. On that basis, he said, the court ruled against his application for interrogatories.

Happy with proceedings

Asante said the second respondent is happy with the proceedings in court so far.

“With the way proceedings have gone on in court, we are happy with the way the matter has proceeded,” she told Kojo Mensah, the host of The Asaase Breakfast Show.

“There have been a lot of delays at the instance of the petitioner, which is quite curious, because they are the ones who brought the matter to court and they should rather be in a hurry for the final determination of the matter.

“We are happy that things are proceeding quite fast compared to how it was in the beginning,” she said.

The Supreme Court will rule on Thursday (11 February 2021) whether Jean Mensa, the EC chair, should testify or not.

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