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Supreme Court throws out Mahama’s motion to reopen case

The bench said such application can be granted by discretion.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed John Dramani Mahama’s application to reopen his case in the ongoing election petition hearing, giving the former President a major blow in his bid to overturn the outcome of the December 7 elections.

By unanimous decision, the court said the petitioner, inter alia, has not adduced enough evidence, or an inkling of that, to convince the bench for the case to be re-opened.

The Supreme Court made the ruling on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, on the back of an application filed by lead counsel for the petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata asking for permission to reopen his case.

Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah who read the ruling said even at the time the application was filed, the petitioner, as well as the respondents, had all closed their cases.

He also said the petitioner is not entitled to an application of that nature as a matter of right, an argument he adduced through counsel Tsatsu Tsikata on Monday, February 15.

“That discretion is, however, one which should be exercised per rules and with restraint as a motion to reopen necessarily involves a balancing of the accountability of counsel for the decisions regarding prosecutions of this case and the interest of justice.

“Accordingly, we weighed the propriety of re-opening proceedings to permit additional evidence to be led or tendered and Court will typically consider three broad questions. Will the evidence, if it had been presented during the trial, have had any influence on the result? [The second question is] could the evidence have been obtained before beginning trial by the exercise of reasonable diligence?”

Counsel for the petitioner argued on Monday, February 2021 for the 7-member panel to grant his application for the case to be re-opened, Mr Tsikata said the Chair of the First Respondent, Jean Adukwei Mensa, would have been subpoenaed to appear as a hostile witness.

This, the Presiding Judge Anin-Yeboah said, the bench found no merit because the petitioner did not state “the sort of urgency he intends to solicit from the said witness and how that evidence is going to help the Court in resolving the dispute before us.”

By: Bernard Ralph Adams

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