Lithur’s objection to Addison’s objection overruled

BY: Isaac Yeboah

The Supreme Court Wednesday upheld objections by Mr. Philip Addison,  counsel for petitioners challenging the outcome of the 2012 presidential elections, against the filing of supplementary affidavits by the Electoral Commission.

The court also overruled an objection by Tony Lithur against the objection by Philip Addison, saying that counsel for the petitioners was right to protect his clients’ interest.

The fresh filing of the supplementary affidavit of 50 biometric verification reports at the Supreme Court registry became the bone of contention between counsel for the petitioners and those on the side of the respondents.

Lead counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison objected to the manner of filing and timing of the affidavit saying it was subversive to justice and contrary to an earlier order of the court for parties to file affidavit evidence within specified time. He also reminded the court it recently stopped a similar attempt to introduce fresh evidence into the case.

Counsel for the Electoral Commission (EC), Mr. James Quashie-Idun was making a case for the affidavit to be admitted because it was relevant to the case and it being out of time could be remedied. He said his understanding when the court on Monday upheld an objection by Addison to the filing of a voter’s register, was that the upheld objection was not a blanket embargo on documents and equipment entrusted in the custody of EC for the 2012 elections.

On the other hand, counsel for President Mahama, Tony Lithur thought Addison was raising the objection at the wrong time. Addison was not supposed to raise objections during his (Lithur’s) cross-examination, he told the court.

Lithur was cross-examining EC Chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan and, referring to the freshly filed biometric verification reports of 50 polling stations, he asked if Dr. Afari-Gyan would know whether biometric verification took place in those polling stations.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, a co-petitioner and key witness for the petitioners had alleged during his evidence in chief that on the face of a number of pink sheets, voting took place without biometric verification in a number of polling stations and wants those results annulled.

Dr. Afari-Gyan was explaining that the print outs of the biometric verifications showed that no one voted in the complained polling stations without going through verification.

But Addison objected to the reference to the document on the grounds that it could not be said to be before the court. Lithur promptly objected to his objection and said the court had made an earlier determination stopping respondents from raising objections while Addison was cross-examining Johnson Asiedu Nketia, a witness of the respondents.

In effect he wanted the court to apply the same rule, and not even a couple of interventions from the bench would persuade him, insisting that the court needed to decide his objection.

The court consequently retired for a while and returned with the decision, announced by chairman Justice William Atuguba.

According to the court, the election petition was of utmost importance to Ghanaians and while it had accorded parties ample opportunities to file evidence by way of filing further and better particulars, it was not prepared to throw the door open to invite multiple filing of documents which was implied in allowing the EC documents.

It also noted that the case was in the sixth month and the people of Ghana were eagerly waiting for a judgement to know who truly won the election.

The court has therefore upheld the objection raised by the petitioners with respect to amendment of the affidavits.

Story by Isaac Yeboah/