Election Petition: Late Tsatsu ‘scolded’ but admitted
The Supreme Court Judges hearing Ghana's election petition has queried Tsatsu Tsikata for disrespecting the court order by filing his address late.
The judges reluctantly admitted the address even though it was filed late.
The possibility of the Supreme Court rejecting the address of Counsel for the NDC in the hearing of case appeared real. But Tsatsu Tsikata has narrowly survived this dire consequence and has been allowed to file his address.
Tsatsu Tsikata was unable to file his address by the deadline set out by the panel of judges hearing the petition.
The judges set a Tuesday 30th July deadline after petitioners and respondents in the petition exhausted their arguments during the 46 days of evidence hearing.
The court, therefore, asked both sides to write down their arguments and present it to the Registry to be served on the judges and parties. This written submission is known as an address.
It was expected that all parties - the petitioners and respondents, President Mahama who is first Respondent and the Electoral Commission who is second would have filed their addresses by deadline day.
But surprisingly, the NDC, third respondent could not file theirs with the Registry by close of day Tuesday. They, however, filed it after 9:00am Wednesday morning before sitting resumed.
Tsatsu Tsikata told a packed court that he takes responsibility for the lateness in serving his client’s address.
It was because of a ‘mechanical challenge’ in binding appendices to his address, he explained. He had also “underestimated” the length of time this process of binding would take.
Counsel for the Petitioners Philip Addison insisted that court orders are meant to be obeyed, a point Justice Sophia also reiterated while she addressed Tsikata.
Mr Addison described the delay as “communist inferior tactics”. He said in the least, the third respondent should have notified the court through a formal application in view of the delay.
The panel of judges in their ruling said the orders of the highest court of the land were not to be taken lightly. But they conceded that “the act that caused the delay was for the benefit of the court”. Justice Atuguba, presiding judge of the panel, reading the ruling said “the sins of counsel must not be visited on his client”. The court, therefore, permitted the filing of the address.
The court also set August 7th 2013 to listen to a final oral submission of the parties based on their addresses.
The election petition hearing is challenging the declaration of President John Mahama as the winner of the 2012 presidential election. It has been brought by three petitioners from the opposition NPP. They are Nana Akufo-Addo, flagbearer, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, vice-presidential candidate and Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, National Chairman of the party.