Counsel for President John Mahama, Mr Tony Lithur, this morning stunned the Supreme Court hearing the election petition brought against the President and the Electoral Commission when he angrily flung a document that was being offered his witness to identify.
Mr Lithur who seemed not happy with the document counsel for the petitioners, Mr Philip Addison was offering Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketia to identify, intercepted the document and threw it back at the petitioners without allowing it to be given to the witness.
A member of the panel, Justice Baffoe Bonnie intervened to condemn Mr Lithur for his action.
“Counsel this behaviour is very much uncalled for in the Supreme Court. It is clearly condemnable.”
The judge reminded Mr Lithur that whatever behaviour he put up was towards the Court.
Mr Philip Addison was cross-examining Mr Asiedu Nketia on Day 24 of the hearing of the election petition and had asked the witness whether he had seen the further and better particulars supplied by the petitioners.
The witness asked counsel to explain what he meant by further and better particulars.
Mr Addison then proceeded to offer a document for the witness to identify and as practice demands, counsel for the witness normally peruse any document before allowing the witness to look at it.
In this case, when Mr Lithur received the document and instead of passing it on to the witness, he threw it back at the petitioner’s counsel.
Mr Addison who seemed not happy with Mr Lithur’s action retorted, “This is the man who talks about respect in the Supreme Court. With this kind of behaviour”.
Mr Lithur responded, “ When counsel choose to bring that kind of document to court as further and better particulars I don’t know what he expects”.
“The further and better particulars were given in volumes indicating which paragraph is referring to what, which paragraph is referring to what and it is not just one volume, there are several volumes. And the matter has been ruled upon by this court already about what the legal effect of further and better particulars we are pleading”.
He added, “...and the attempt to tender them was rejected earlier, you are talking about respect, I beg your pardon”.
It was at this point that Justice Baffoe Bonnie intervened. “Counsel this behaviour is very much uncalled for in the Supreme Court. It is clearly condemnable”
“Even you should know that you have been telling the witness that anytime he answers a question he should say ‘Yes My Lord’ even though the question has been asked by counsel on the other side. So you should know that whatever reaction you put up is clearly an affront to the court.”
“I apologise to your lordships, my Lords, I apologise to your lordships”, Mr Lithur said.
Justice Baffoe Bonnie continued “In any case you know that when you interject calling a document not to be tendered or not identified, the document in the first place was not meant for you, you only saw it, it was supposed to go to the witness. It is after the witness has identified it and there are questions to be asked on the document that you can come in but clearly to throw the document away it was wrong”.
Mr Lithur repeated “I apologise, my Lords”.
The president of the panel, Mr Justice William Atuguba came in at this point and said, “you see jettisoning of cargo is not something to be done at the bar. It is on the high seas when ships are in trouble then they jettison cargo”.
The document was later showed to the witness – Mr Asiedu-Nketia- and Mr Addison continued with the cross examination afterwards.