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Ghana’s Top Legal Brains Storm Supreme Court   
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Justice William Atuguba
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Laughter, tension, hot verbal exchanges and exhibition of mastery legal knowledge characterised today’s Supreme Court hearing of the NDC’s application to join the hot Electoral dispute case pending at the Honourable court.

The leading counsel for the petitioners of the case - Nana Akufo Addo, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and Mr. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, by name Mr. Philip Addison right from the onset of today’s hearing was firm and on some occasions humorous in his delivery.

Lawyer Addison’s apparent withdrawal in open court of the petitioners legal team objection to the composition of the supreme court panel paved the way for a hot legal debate on whether NDC should be allowed by the court to join the suit as interested party or not.

Immediately, Justice William Atugubah announced that the Supreme Court has accepted the Petitioners withdrawal of the objection, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, a well-known legal luminary and Head of the NDC legal team moved the motion for their Application to join the suit.

Tsikata then set tone for today’s interesting legal arguments full of quotations of relevant laws, precedents/authorities and other relevant Acts to buttress the motion.

Tsikata asserted that NDC ought to join the hot case because it is the political party that sponsored President John Mahama to contest the election. The legal wizard further argued that the ballot papers (Presidential ones) also bear the name and symbol of the NDC and for that matter separating Mahama from NDC in this case is a non-starter. He cited Akwam and Pianin case (1997) Supreme Court Report page (117) to support his case; and Tsatsu vrs Rep. (2007-2008), a case which Justice William Atuguba presided over to buttress his points.

He said in these cases application to join the suit by interested parties were granted. Tsikata who is noted for quoting laws during his delivery also supported his arguments with Article 55(3) of 1992 constitution, CI 75, and Political Parties Act, Act 574 (2000) among others.

Equally competent Petitioners leading Counsel, Mr. Philip Addison also showed class by exhibition of confidence, and mastery of the law and Advocacy.

Journalists in the Press gallery of the Court expressed surprise at why such a great experienced lawyer has been on the quiet for a long time. Mr. Addison contended that the NDC application to join the suit be dismissed because it lacks merit. He said there is no provision in CI 74 for a Political Party to be a joinder to Electoral Dispute case of this nature. He said what the law says is that a Presidential Candidate be nominated by a document and at least signed by two registered voters and not a political party.

Lawyer Addison noted that since the case has to be determined expeditiously, NDC joining will prolong the case unduly. The lawyer quoted Article 63 (1) of the constitution where it is stipulated who is qualified to be a Presidential Candidate and no mention was made to Political party having anything to do with Nomination of Presidential candidate by law. He also stressed that the authorities cited by Tsatsu Tsikata has nothing to do with the issue of joining the suit by NDC. He also cited many authorities to buttress his stance.

He said NDC’s decision to call 4,800 witnesses is intimidating and that drew wide laughter in the court room.

Meanwhile, the court presided over by Justice William Atugubah and other (8) Justices adjourned the case to Tuesday 22nd January 2013, for Ruling on whether NDC will join the suit or not.
Source: Bernard Quanson/Court correspondent/ Peace FM

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