‘Supreme Court denying us fair hearing’ – Mahama’s legal team

The legal team for former president John Mahama has stated that their client is being denied a fair hearing in the ongoing election petition at the Supreme Court.

This comes after the Supreme Court dismissed an application filed by Mr Mahama through his legal team, seeking for a review of an earlier ruling given by the court with regard to questions the team were seeking to ask the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa.

The nine justices hearing the review on Thursday indicated in their ruling that they were not satisfied with the arguments of Mahama’s legal team led by Tsatsu Tsikata thereby dismissing the application.

“We find that our inherent jurisdiction cannot be invoked under the circumstances of the case when the rules of the court have made clear provisions in the exercise of our jurisdiction in this matter. We accordingly dismiss the application,” the Justices noted in court.

But Mr Mahama’s legal team at a press briefing at the forecourt of the Supreme Court said they were not happy with the ruling.

Former Attorney General Marrietta Brew Appiah-Oppong who addressed the press stated that the court was denying them a fair hearing and explained that their application was well presented and should not have been dismissed.

“The refusal of our applications are not fair to the petitioner in the light of the past and in the light of what is happening now,” Appiah-Oppong stated.

She continued “How can anyone say that those questions [interrogatories] are not relevant? secondly, there was also a fundamental error in relation to the refusal to apply order 22 of CI 47… You’re all aware that by now order 22 of C.I 47 relates to interrogatories. In 2013, there were no rules on interrogatories in C.I 16 and yet the then petitioner Nana Akufo-Addo was allowed to serve interrogatories on the respondents. Nothing has changed except the passage of C.I 99. Again there is nothing in C.I 99 that says that a petitioner cannot serve interrogatories,”

Another member legal team, Baba Jamal, said “this does not mean we will stop pursuing what we are seeking from the court.”

Today, two additional justices, Justice Imoro Tanko and Justice Henrietta Mensah Bonsu were added to the earlier seven-member panel for the review application.

The seven other justices on the panel hearing the petition are the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, Justice Yaw Apau, Justice Samuel Kofi Marful-Sau, Justice Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey, Justice Nene A. O. Amegatcher, Justice Gertrude Torkonoo and Justice Mariama Owusu.

About the supplementary application (By

Mr. Mahama’s legal team, led by Tsatsu Tsikata had asked the court to review its earlier ruling dismissing questions [interrogatories] the petitioner wanted to ask Jean Mensa.

The team subsequently filed another application to replace portions of the original statement of case, as well as file a supplement to their statement of case requesting for the review.

Mr. Mahama’s legal team insisted that the court will be provided with further information if the application was granted.

The application sought to replace paragraph 28 of the original statement of case and file a supplement to the statement of case.

Paragraph 28 of the petitioners’ initial review document states among others that “there is no reference in rule 69(c) 4 of CI 99 to amendments. It is rather 69 A (6) which provides as follows.”

In the proposed new paragraph “it rather” quotes 68(7) instead of the 69A(6) as earlier quoted.

The lead counsel for the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata earlier in court outlined series of cases where the court allowed for supplementary statement of cases in both review and appeal applications.

But counsels for the first and second respondents opposed the request on the basis that the review jurisdiction of the court does not allow for a supplement of case to a review application as the case is in its appellate state.

Mr. Tsikata, however, insisted that his readings of the rules of the review jurisdiction and past rulings show that the court is empowered to grant the application.

The nine-panel of judges however disagreed with Tsikata’s argument saying the application was irrelevant. 

Below are excerpts of the ruling on the supplementary case:

“We have considered the submissions canvassed for and in opposition for this application. We notice that this application before this court is brought under the inherent jurisdiction of the court to file additional grounds of review and replace paragraph 28 of the original statement of the case and to file a supplement to the statement of the case. The application which was argued before us is not sanctioned by any provisions in C.I. 16, specifically from rules 54 to 60 of the Supreme Court rule C.I. 16 of 1996.”

“In law and by the settled practise of this court, it should be noted that, review and appeals are conceptually different and the rules governing the application in either of them are very distinct and this court has in several cases exhibited remarkable consistency. All the other cases referred by the counsel for the applicant are based on original jurisdictions and civil appeals.”

“The Tamakloe case does not in any way discuss the grant of an application for the reliefs sought before us. In civil appeals and original jurisdiction matters before this court, there are express provisions to grant the reliefs sought in this application and the court may in appropriate cases grant such applications in the interest of delivering justice under rule 15 of sub-rule 11 and 51 of C.I.16, 1996. To grant this application would be tantamount to expanding the scope of jurisdiction of review which jurisdiction is not provided under this court by the rules. We find that our inherent jurisdiction cannot be invoked under the circumstances of the case when the rules of the court have made clear provisions in the exercise of our jurisdiction in this matter. We accordingly dismiss the application.”

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