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Tsatsu Battles Bench Again; Told To Mind His Language   
 
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16-May-2013  
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Tsatsu Tsikata, Counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was on Thursday reprimanded for appearing annoyed and using uncivil language in the court room on a day which saw heated exchanges on the tendering process in court after Counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison raised objections on documents the Counsel for the NDC was seeking to tender.

The Court, which on the day, threw out an application by the respondents to call other witnesses of the petitioners who had deposed to affidavits on various polling stations annulled by the Electoral Commission in the December Presidential Elections, saw the resumption of the cross examination of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, lead witness to the petitioners by Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata.

The resumption of cross examination followed the submission of lists of counterparts to certain polling stations with duplicate serial numbers which the Counsel for the NDC had asked for.

After asking a few questions on the lists, Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata proceeded to tender in the original list compiled by the NDC which immediately saw Counsel Philip Addison objecting to it.

Counsel Philip Addison objected to the tendering of the original document because for him, the document ought to be tendered together with the responses provided by the petitioners as a reference.

The argument made by Counsel Philip Addison was seemingly supported by the President of the Court, Justice William Atuguba who took on the task of educating and convincing the NDC lawyer on the need to tender in both lists especially as the petitioners had agreed that when tendered, the list generated by the petitioners would be tendered in the name of the petitioners.

“The problems you (Tsatsu Tsikata) are raising is puzzling for me to understand. He is only using that list as a cross reference to your list and if it goes in, it goes in to his name. it is part of his answer to your cross examination so I don’t really see the problem you are raising ” Justice Atuguba said.

Still facing vehement opposition from the NDC lawyer who insisted that he would in no way tender in the document generated by the petitioners or allow the petitioners to tender in that document since he was still in his cross examination, Justice Atuguba quizzed Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata on why he was persistent in his opposition and noted that tendering the list generated by the petitioners which was a response to the queries raised by the NDC lawyer, would even help the bench to understand the issues.

“This list would even help those of us on the bench to follow what you are doing. You are even making a cross reference to his list and yet you don’t want it to go in?” he asked.

But Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata refused to accept the President’s arguments saying “but my Lord, if I am not tendering the list, then what sense is it going in?”

Counsel Philip Addison also wondered why Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata was refusing to have the responses of the petitioners to their queries tendered when indeed all the questions he had asked was based on the document he was refusing to tender.

“All the questions he has asked is based on this. Yesterday, he didn’t want to proceed because he was waiting for this list. We went to great extents to produce this list and now he says he doesn’t want the list to be tendered?” he asked.

However, with Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata adamant to shift, the Judges ruled that the tendering of the document should wait till the reexamination stage and be tendered, stating its power to control the tendering of documents.

Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata then proceeded to tender in another document. This document according to him was neither the original document submitted to the petitioners, for which responses had been generated by the petitioners but a list which included certain details from the responses presented by the petitioners.

This was also objected to by Counsel Philip Addison and drew a sharp response from the Counsel for the NDC who in an angry tone asked the Counsel for the petitioners not to be “retrograde” (backward). “This is not the time to be retrograde in the way we proceed”, he said.

But this response did not sit well with the Justices and saw Justice Vida Akoto Bamfo coming in to reprimand the NDC lawyer.

“Counsel, I don’t know whether you are getting angry. Please mind your language”, she said.

Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata later apologized for his choice of words but indicated that that was not the message he intended to send.
 
 
Source: Communications Directorate, NPP/Ghana
 
 

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