By Margaret Jackson
June 12, 2013
I must admit that Mr Philip Addison, lead counsel for the petitioners in the on-going Supreme Court challenge to the 2012 Presidential Election results has gained my respect. He has proved that he is the kind of lawyer you will want to hire if you have a good court case. Addison does not take anything for granted and he makes sure to use everything he gets to his advantage.
I have watched this man weave, whine, protest, raise objections, challenge the justices and even attempted to overrule the justices when they overrule him and has not relented in pursuing the bad case he has on hand.
Mr Philip Addison has done his best to put a positive spin on the case by always trying to impress the court and Ghanaians watching and monitoring the case that the NPP has a solid case which is winnable.
As a result, many Ghanaians especially the NPP supporters were waiting in the wings to see how Philip Addison will blow Dr Afari Gyan, the Electoral Commissioner, into pieces in just 10 minutes after he had mounted the witness box during his cross-examination.
But ever since Philip Addison started cross-examining Dr Afari Gyan, the former seems to have done nothing to write home about. Mr Addison has not landed any ‘solid punches’ that have sobered Dr Afari Gyan. In fact, Addison’s boring and recycled questions is making Dr Afari Gyan look better and far more credible with each passing day, while even some staunch NPP supporters are throwing up the towel on Addison.
Philip Addison seems to be scratching rather than thinking on his feet. He seems disjointed rather than asking sensible probing questions. And to make matters worse, he is seen all over soliciting questions from his team of lawyers, something the lawyers for the respondents did not do. On Monday June 10, Addison even forgot a question he has asked Dr Afari Gyan and had to ask his team to tell him the very question he had asked the witness. On cannot help but deduce that Addison seems to have run out of steam.
In my laywoman’s view, I think the justices at the Supreme Court will set out two issues for this trial and make a determination at the end. I, therefore, believe that the justices will examine whether there were constitutional infractions or violations in the 2012 Presidential elections. The justices will further probe to see if there were statutory violations, irregularities and omissions, and whether all these affected the results.
Therefore, the performance of Philip Addison during his cross-examination of Dr Afari Gyan has not been impressive at all. Why will Addison be talking about procurement by Electoral Commission (EC) and just leave the questioning mid-stream and jump to another question which totally has no bearing to the procurement issue he was probing?
You will see Addison talking about Biometric Voting Device (BVD) and then leave everybody hanging and move to foreign registration of Ghanaians. Most of the questions that Addison has asked are completely irrelevant to the case and even the justices have realized that Addison seems to be turning and turning in the widening gyre.
There is one thing that I want to trump up. When Addison wanted to prove that there were double registration when some Ghanaians were registered abroad, Dr Afari Gyan took pains to explain to him that even if there were dupes, the EC did a clean-up of the data later on. Dr Afari Gyan then went on to inform Addison that due to the BVD, there was no way anybody could have voted twice even if his/her name appeared twice on any register.
But Philip Addison and his NPP folks simply did not understand this but ran with the story that Dr Afari Gyan has admitted to double registration of Ghanaians abroad. This is what is killing Addison and at his point he has to end his cross-examination of Dr Afari Gyan to save himself from further damaging embarrassment.
You don’t need anybody to tell you that Philip Addison has nowhere else to go. He has reached the dead end but does not know how to end his porous cross-examination. As a petitioner if you are taunted by one of respondents to bring your high punches on because they ain’t seen nothing yet, then you have a serious problem on hand.
I started by saying that Philip Addison has gained my admiration for his persistence on the case, but his cross-examination has totally wiped out his zeal. I will therefore, end the cross-examination of Dr Afari Gyan if I were Philip Addison.