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Supreme Court fixes March 4 as judgement day for 2020 election petition

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The Supreme Court has fixed Thursday, March 4, 2021 as the judgement day for the 2020 presidential election petition.

Counsel for the petitioner, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata has been directed to file his closing written address before the close of day on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

The court had initially ordered all the parties in the petition to file their closing addresses by February 17, 2021.

The two respondents in the petition, (Electoral Commission and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo) filed their closing addresses in conformity with the Supreme Court order for all the parties to simultaneously file written addresses on or before Wednesday [February 17, 2021].

However, the legal team for the petitioner, former President John Dramani Mahama did not file their written address as ordered by the court.

First review: EC not to adduce evidence

They rather filed a review application which challenged the ruling of the court, dated February 11, this year, which overruled an objection by the lawyer for the petitioner, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, against the decision of the Electoral Commission (EC) not to adduce evidence.

They also filed an application for stay of proceedings, and urged the court to put the petition on hold until the final determination of the review application.

Second review: Reopen case

When the first review failed after the order of the court on filing of addresses, the petitioner filed a second review which challenged the ruling of the court, dated February 16, this year, which dismissed the petitioner’s application to reopen his case with the plan to subpoena the EC Chairperson as a “hostile witness”.

The petitioner also filed another application for stay of proceedings, and urged the court to put the petition on hold until the final determination of the review application.

But that was also unanimously dismissed on Monday, February 22, 2021 by the nine-member panel.

At the court sitting Monday, Mr Tsikata in asking for leave to file the closing address told the court that they did not file the address earlier because of the pending applications for stay of proceedings and review.

Counsel for the first and second respondents opposed the application for leave by the petitioner to file the address.

The Supreme Court however ruled that in the interest of justice, the petitioner should file the written address by Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

Mr Tsikata asked the court if counsel would be given an opportunity to orally address the court and highlight some major points in the address.

But the court said no, and that, that opportunity has been passed and that the petition has been adjourned to March 4, 2021 for judgement.

The court however said, if the judges read the written addresses and there is the need for clarification, it will give the directions.

GraphicOnline

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