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The Supreme Court yesterday by an 8-1 Majority Decision or Ruling stopped Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata counsel for NDC in the Electoral Dispute from making submission on whether petitioners in the case should be allowed to provide particulars of their allegations of irregularities in 4709 polling stations.

The Decision was taken after the petitioners lead counsel, Mr. Philip Addison objected to Tsikata’s attempt to make submissions on the matter. Mr. Addision said Tsikata should not make any submission on the matter because the matter was brought forth by the Electoral Commission (EC) and John Mahama’s lawyers who had made Applications to that effect.

He said without Tsikata Applying Formally in written form he cannot make submissions on it. The Supreme Court Judges by 8 to 1 majority decision restrained Tsikata to that effect. In a related Development, by 6-3 majority decision the Supreme Court Judges sitting on the case ruled in favour of Tsikata to make submission of an application from the petitioners calling on Electoral Commission (EC), to provide them with total votes from the Diaspora.

Earlier, lawyer Addison prevented Tsikata from making submissions on this matter. But the Supreme Court says he can comment after filing papers on this issue.

Top Lawyers’ Hot Debates At Supreme Court

Once again there was interesting debate by the two parties in the gargantuan Electoral case pending before the Supreme Court in Accra. Sometimes the Justices of the court (the panel) members also threw in interesting comments in the course of the proceedings.

Today almost all the Justices drew the petitioners lead counsel attention to the need for him to reduce emotions which nearly took the best part of him.

Gentle man as he is, the counsel Mr. Philip Addison accepted the advice and stated that it was not his intention to disrespect the Supreme Court, but he was concerned about the need to ensure that the right procedures are followed.

The whole issue cropped up following lawyer Addison’s objection to NDC lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata’a attempt to make a submission on the demand by Electoral Commission (EC) and President John Mahama’s lawyers, for the petitioners legal team to provide the particulars of the 4709 polling stations where the alleged irregularities took place.

Mr. Addison objected to Tsikata’s attempt to make submissions on the matter because according to counsel Tsikata did not file any paper or reply on the issue to warrant any oral submissions.

This issue obviously brought a hot argument from both the bench and the Bar but at the end of the day when the Justices went in camera to deliberate on the issue, the matter was settled by 8-1 majority decision objecting Mr. Tsatsu from commenting on it.

In a related development, Mr. Addison prayed the court to order Electoral Commission (EC) to provide petitioners legal team with the total votes of Ghanaians who voted in the Diaspora in the Nation’s Missions and students on scholarship among others on foreign missions. This request, Mr. Addison noted is in connection with some votes in dispute.

On this issue the Supreme Court by 6-3 majority ruling agreed that Tsikata can make submissions on the matter after filing a paper/motion on the issue before the court. That brought that argument to an end.

Before all these hot debates, the lawyer of Electoral Commission, (EC), Mr. Quarshie – Idun asked the court to order the petitioners legal team to provide the Names, Codes, Constituencies and regions where the 4709 polling stations where irregularities allegedly took place so that the (EC) can better defend itself.

The counsel for President Mahama, Mr. Tony Lithur also wants the petitioners to state the polling stations where voters were allowed to vote without verification, and also details of persons who allegedly voted without being registered biometrically. Mr. Lithur argued that if the petition does not include the details then Supreme Court which is not a commission of Enquiry will find it difficult to do it’s work.

In rebuttal to what the (EC)’s position, Mr. Addison said the petition does not include questions of fraud so the issue of providing specific particulars cannot be acceptable; or does not come up at all. He said in a petition what is important is a summary of material facts which his team had already done. He said the (EC) has the original copies of details of all the 26,000 polling stations so it is improper for them to demand such information from the petitioners.

He emphasized that he totally opposed the Applications from both President Mahama and EC on the matter. The matter has been adjourned to 31st January, 2013 by court; to rule on the Applications.
Source: Bernard Quanson/Court correspondent/ Peace FM

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