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The Supreme Court has advised Mr. Frank Davies, a member of President Akufo-Addo’s legal team, in the ongoing election petition case, to stay off Press conferences after court proceedings.
According to the apex court, the move offends the principles of the bar, where a Lawyer actively engaged in the case in court to address the Press in his full regalia.
Chief Justice, Anin Yeboah rather asked that such responsibility be left for other officials who are not directly involved with the case to handle.
The cross-examination of the Petitioner’s chief witness, NDC General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia however continued yesterday.
Lead Counsel for the 2nd Respondent in the 2020 Presidential Election Petition, Lawyer Akoto Ampaw, demanded during cross-examination that witness for the petitioner, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, answered his questions without verbose explanations.
In the estimation of the Lawyer Akoto Ampaw, the witness’s explanations to some of the questions amounted to an attempting to lecture the court, rather than answering the questions he was being asked in the witness box.
The first witness of the petitioner was confronted in court Monday with video evidence of some NDC press conferences where he seemingly declared the petitioner a winner of the presidential elections.
Mr. Nketia admitted that he was indeed the one in the video and that “those are my words” but denied declaring John Mahama winner in the tapes played.
According to him, he only expressed his expectations that John Mahama would win the presidential elections on the face of the information available to him at the time.
Mr. Nketia attempted to explain how he arrived at his ‘expectation’.
“… My Lords permit me, in all the 7 parliamentary and presidential elections that have been held in this country before this one the presidential candidate and the political party which wins and controls parliament ends up winning the presidency so I…”
While at it, Mr. Ampaw interjected, demanding that he answers the questions being asked.
“Mr. Asiedu Nketia, don’t lecture us, answer the questions, you can’t lecture us,” he said.
Prior to yesterday sitting, Counsel for 1st Respondent last Friday took Mr. Asiedu Nketia through several questions, where on specific matters he stated he could not speak for the petitioner, while he persistently avoided questions relating to the strongroom saying he could not speak to matters that happened in the strong room because he was not there.
Also, the Counsel for 2nd Respondent started cross-examination by asking the witness whether he himself, the Petitioner, and other officials of the NDC granted interviews prior to the declaration of the 2020 elections and this was admitted.
On whether he had claimed in the press conference that the Petitioner had won the election by a certain margin, he stated he could not recollect which prompted the Counsel to seek leave to play the videos of the Press Conferences to him.
The Court enquired on the relevance of playing the videos and the Counsel informed the Court that it went to the credibility of the witness.
The Court consequently adjourned to Monday, 1st February, 2021 to play the video and assess its admissibility based on relevance.
Earlier at the last sitting, seven out of the 42 paragraphed witness statement by Johnson Asiedu Nketia in support of the petition by former President John Mahama were struck out by the Supreme Court.
The apex court took the action after a protest by lawyers of the 2nd respondent in the case – President Akufo-Addo.
The lawyers raised concerns with 10 of the paragraphs but after banter with the petitioner’s lawyer, the court settled on seven.
Meanwhile, Mr. Asiedu Nketia claimed that the petitioner was in court to challenge some actions and inactions of the Electoral Commission but not to seek the declaration of another outcome of the polls.
“My Lord we are not in court to try to declare another presidential result by us [NDC], we are in court to challenge the performance of the constitutional duty of the first respondent [Chairpersonf of the Electoral Commission] and to assess whether that duty has been discharged faithfully,” he said.