Reports reaching 'Daily Guide' indicate that barring any hitch, the landmark election petition in which three opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) leaders are challenging the validity of the declaration of John Dramani Mahama as President will resume early next week.
This follows the expiration of the 7-day order issued by the Supreme Court to the parties in the petition to sort out the memorandum of issues that would be set for the main trial.
Sources said after the parties failed to agree on almost all the major issues to be set for trial, the petitioners’ lawyers wrote to the court’s registry, as directed, to ask the court to set a date as early as possible.
The letter signed by Akoto Ampaw of Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co. and addressed to the court on March 19, 2013, informed the Registrar that “this is formally to notify the Supreme Court that following the order of the Court, Counsel for all the parties met in an attempt at reaching an agreement on the memorandum of issues as set out in the application for directions and further directions”.
However, Mr. Ampaw said, “We regret to inform the court that with the exception of the relatively few number of issues agreed on, we were unable to reach a substantial agreement on the issues.
“We would, accordingly, be grateful if a short date could be fixed for the parties to appear in court to take directions as to the issues and the mode of trial in order to expedite trial of the petition.”
He said “we will, at the hearing, give notice to the court with respect to the issues we managed to reach agreement on.”
The letter was copied to Tony Lithur, Counsel for first Respondent President John Mahama, James Quahsie-Idun, Counsel for second Respondent the Electoral Commission and Samuel Codjoe, Counsel for third Respondent the NDC.
Once the court date is fixed, the parties as indicated by the petitioners’ counsel, would disclose to the court the issues agreed on and the court would determine those that were not agreed upon as part of the memorandum of issues after which the court is expected to set a definite date for the all-important trial to commence.
The main trial, sources said, is likely to commence after the Easter Holidays.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that apart from the use of audio visual aid in the form of power-point presentation suggested by the petitioners and a few others to be used in the trial, there were sharp disagreements in all the other relevant issues in the petition.
For instance, a suggestion by the petitioners that they would like the court to order the parties to exchange documents seven clear days before proceedings was vehemently opposed by President Mahama’s legal team, which also rejected the suggestion that seven days before the trial, all parties must be made to present a list of witnesses and a brief summary of the nature and relevance of the testimony of each witness.
The parties, according to the source, did not also agree on the mode of the trial and it is now left for the highest court of the land to set it out.
On March 14, the nine-member panel, presided over by Justice William Atuguba, dismissed applications filed by over 350 National Democratic Congress (NDC) supporters who were seeking to join the petition.
The decision finally blocked any further attempt for joinder applications by prospective individuals or groups whose motive was to stall progress made in the landmark election petition case.
As it is now, no individual or group can, therefore, apply to join the case.
Source: William Yaw Owusu/D-Guide
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