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Court overrules objection by petitioners


Philip Addison & Tsatsu Tsikata Court overrules objection by petitioners

The Supreme Court on Tuesday overruled an objection raised by Mr Philip Addison, lead Counsel for the 2012 election petitioners.

Mr Addison objection was that Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the second petitioner should not be made to identify a document that did not emanate from the petitioners.

The objection follows accusation by Mr Addison that Mr Tsikata was trying to set up an entirely new case when the respondents have argued right from the start of the trial that there was no over-voting as claimed by the petitioners.

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Mr Addison said he finds it surprising that Mr Tsikata would be bringing an entirely different pink sheet outside the 11,000 pink sheets the petitioners submitted and seek to question the witness on it.

He said the petitioners adhered to the stringent directives by the bench and have deposed and sworn affidavits to more than 11,000 pink sheets.

Mr Addison said the petitioners were also asked to provide further and better particulars which they stuck to, which had resulted in mislabelling.

He said it would be unfair for the bench to allow Mr Tsikata to spring a surprise on them by introducing a new pink sheet and a line of questioning which is palpably different to what the petitioners have answered to in their affidavits.

Mr Addison asked the bench if they have shifted from their earlier directives that it would set a bad precedence out of which would open the flood gates for all to introduce exhibits which are outside what have been tendered in evidence.

Mr Tsikata however insisted that the witness must be allowed to answer the question on the document.

He said they do not seek to be co-petitioners in the case but said there would be bad faith if results which went for the first respondent are annulled because of over voting and those that went in favour of the first petitioner are allowed to stand.

The Court rose for a period of five minutes for the judges to confer on the matter and gave their ruling.

After 30 minutes of deliberation, Mr Justice William Atuguba, the Presiding Judge who read the ruling said so far as the question objected to seek to portray that there were other pinks sheets with malpractices of the kind in respect of which the witness had testified that they should be annulled, the objection is over ruled.

He however said beyond such composite question, the questioning cannot be allowed as much as the third respondent’s turn to testify along the line is yet to come.

Earlier, the Supreme Court also overruled a similar objection raised by Mr Addison when Mr Tsikata sought to ask the witness to identify a document.

Mr Addison argued that witness cannot be allowed to identify a document that does not emanate from him.

He said the third respondent cannot spring a surprise by asking the witness to identify a document that is not before the court.

Mr Tsikata said the witness should be made to identify the document because it was not served on them.

He argued that the petitioners have brought pink sheet exhibits which results have been annulled in some polling stations over alleged irregularities and on the basis of that, they are asking the court to cancel results from other polling stations in which the petitioners are alleging there were violations of the electoral laws.

He said the witness in his affidavits indicated how his team checked some 24,000 pink sheets and so the respondents have every right to ask the witness questions pertaining to those pink sheets.

Mr Tsikata said is not about 11, 000 polling stations but about 26,000 polling stations and that the petitioners cannot seek to annul 55 per cent of votes for the first respondent and seeking only to annul 28 per cent of votes for the first petitioner.

He said if the witness led in evidence stated that checked over 24,000 polling station results, there is no way the court can entertain the petition without looking at the 26,000 polling station pink sheets.

He said the pink sheet is crucial to the testimony of the witness and must be allowed to be identified by the witness.

Mr Addison said the witness indeed checked 24,000 polling station results out of the 26,000 stations.

He argued that there is no evidence before the court that the pink sheet the counsel for the third respondent is asking the witness to identify is one that was perused out of the 24,000 polling stations adding that the witness cannot be made to identify such a document.

The court adjourned proceedings to tomorrow, Wednesday May 8.





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