Justice cannot be sacrificed for expedition – Tsatsu tells Supreme Court

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Lawyer for former President John Mahama in the ongoing election petition trial Tsatsu Tsikata has told the Supreme Court panel hearing the case that “Justice cannot be sacrificed for expedition”.

His comment comes after the Supreme Court ruled against a motion he filed for some questions to be put to the Electoral Commission (EC) to answer ahead of the actual trial.

Tsatsu Tsikata had argued that the responses of the EC to the questions will form the basis for the petitioner to proceed, but the Supreme Court, by a 7/0 vote kicked against the motion insisting it was not relevant to the petition.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the respondents also argued that the petitioner’s counsel are trying to delay the case with their 12 interrogatories targeted at the EC.

Today, however, Tsatsu Tsikata filed for a review of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the petitioner’s motion, insisting that justice cannot be sacrifice for expedition.

Meanwhile, the Supreme on Wednesday asked all parties in the case to file their witness statements on Thursday, January 21, 2021 to allow expeditious dispensing of the case.

The Supreme Court is going by the dictates of C.I 99, which requires that it deals with the case within 42 days.

But Tsatsu Tsikata, who deemed the time too short, told the Supreme Court that much as the court may want to stick to the timelines specified in C. I 99 for the adjudication of election petitions, it should not be done in disregard of justice.

According to him, the Supreme Court’s insistence of such a short timeline is not justified in law.

But the bench explained the modification of the law, which culminated in C.I 99 requires the court to operate within strict timelines, a requirement the court cannot compromise.

The bench was also of the view that lawyers should have known that they will be required to file witness statements and that those should have been prepared ahead of time.

Dissatisfied Tsatsu Tsikata told the court, adherence to those timelines should not injure justice.

“Justice cannot be sacrificed for expedition”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court spelt out five major issues to be considered in the case.

It said the Court would be considering issues including whether or not the petition reveal any reasonable cause of action.

The court will also be determining whether or not any of the candidates obtained majority votes, to be declared the winner.

Another issue the apex court would be dealing with is whether or not the EC met the provision of article 63 (3) of the constitution.

The panel said it will also determine whether or not the EC violated a 63 (3) of the constitution and whether or not the allegation of the vote padding, if considered, will affect the vote obtained by the winner.

The apex court has also directed the petitioner and his lawyers to file their witness statements by 12 noon on Thursday, January 21, 2021.

The respondents are also to file their processes on January 22, 2021. Any additional processes are to be filed by January 25 for hearing to commence on January 26, 2021.

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