A nine-member Supreme Court review panel presided over by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, has dismissed an application by the Petitioner in the ongoing election 2020 petition which application was praying the Supreme Court to allow John Dramani Mahama (the Petitioner), to reopen his case in order to subpoena the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission Jean Mensa, to testify as a hostile (Adverse) witness.
The Supreme Court in its ruling on the 16th of February 2021, dismissed the Petitioner’s application to reopen his case on the grounds that he has not shown a just course why same should be granted. Not satisfied with the decision of the seven-member Supreme Court panel, Lawyer for the Petitioner, Tsatsu Tsikata, filed a review motion to overturn the Court’s earlier decision.
Grounds for the Review
The Petitioner in his review motion stated that the grounds for seeking the review are that:
a) The ruling of the Court was per incuriam section 72 of the Evidence Act 1975 (NRCD 323), and has occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice to the Applicant;
b) The ruling of the Court was in fundamental error in subjecting statutory provisions in the Evidence Act, 1975 to the provisions of subsidiary legislation, specifically Order 38 rule 3E(5) of C.l.47, as amended by C.l. 87, and has occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice to the Applicant;
c)The Court fundamentally erred in its interpretation of Order 38 rule 3E(5) of C.l. 47, as amended by C.l 87
d) The ruling of the court was per incuriam Order 38 rule 10 of C.l. 47 and section 58 of the Courts Act, 1993 (Act 459);
e) The ruling of the Court was per incuriam Article 19(13) of the Constitution and has occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice to the Applicant;
f) The ruling of the Court was in breach of Article 296 of the Constitution and has occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice to the Applicant.
EC Lawyer’s Opposing Arguments
Lawyers for the two Respondents in the petition, Justin Amenuvor (for the EC, 1st Respondent) and Akoto Ampaw (for President Akufo-Addo, 2nd Respondent), both opposed the Application. Lawyer for the 1st Respondent, argued that the Petitioner has failed to present any exceptional circumstances required by section 131 (1) of the 1992 constitution when it comes to the review jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
Lawyer Justin Amenuvor further argued that the Petitioner, in his Application, has not given an inkling of the new or fresh evidence he wants to bring to the fore through the Chairperson of the 1st Respondent and how that evidence would assist the Court to do justice in the matters under consideration in this Petition.
“Neither has he disclosed how that evidence would advance the cause of his petition. For the above stated reasons, we find no merit whatsoever in Petitioner’s Application” Amenuvor said.
He added that the third review application of the Petitioner since the petition was filed, “is a gross abuse of the processes of this Honorable Court and should not be entertained”. “My Lords it is for these reasons that we urge Your Lordships to dismiss this Application” Amenuvor noted.
2nd Respondent’s Arguments
Lawyer for the 2nd Respondent in his submission observed that lawyer for the Petitioner in referring to section 72 of the Evidence Act 1975 (NRCD 323), in his application, deliberately omitted the last part of the provision which talks about evidence. He intimated that the Petitioner knows that should he quote section 72 of the Evidence Act in full, it will render the entire review application moot. To this end, Lawyer Akoto Ampaw argued that the petition is devoid of merit and deserving of a summary dismissal by the Court.
The Supreme Court review panel which comprised the Chief Justice, Anin Yeboah, Justices Yaw Appaw, Samuel Marful-Sau, Nene Amegatcher, Nii Ashie Kotey, Mariama Owusu, Gertrude Torkonoo, Amadu Tanko and Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, after rising for about one hour, thirty minutes (1h, 30mins) to prepare their ruling reconstituted and dismissed the application. Their lordships ruled that the application was not supported by any law or any settled practice. The court also noted that the mere fact that the ruling or judgment of the Supreme Court can be criticized should not be grounds enough to ask the Apex Court of the land to review its decision. The Court, the Justices of the Supreme Court noted is a Court of law and not a forum for suppositions.
“Accepting what is being urged on us will open the Pandora’s box and lead to abuse of the Court processes”. We dismiss the instant application and being wholly without merit” Chief Justice Anin Yeboah said as he read the decision of the Court.
After the review application was disposed off, the seven Justices hearing the substantive petition reconstituted. The court first struck out a stay of proceedings application filed by the Petitioner after he withdrew same. The Court further granted leave to the Petitioner to file their closing address out of time after lawyer for the petitioner moved an application for same. The Court ordered the Petitioner to file same by close of day, tomorrow, Tuesday the 23rd of February 2021. The Court also ruled that it will reconstitute on Thursday, the 4th of March 2021 to deliver its final judgment in the petition before it.
Dr. Dominic Ayine, a member of the legal team of the Petitioner and a former deputy Attorney General under the John Mahama administration appeared before the Supreme Court charged with contempt following a comment he made to the media on the 16th of February 2021 to the effect that the Supreme Court has a predetermined agenda against the Petitioner (John Dramani Mahama).
The contemnor, Dr. Dominic Ayine apologized to the Court unreservedly. His lawyer, a senior member of the Ghanaian Bar, Frank Bechem, also apologized indicating that his client has no excuse for his conduct. He urged the Court to temper justice with mercy. After the admonishing of several members of the panel, including Justice Yaw Appaw and Justice Nene Amegatcher, to Dominic Ayine, the Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah, ordered the contemnor to use the same medium he used to make the comments to retract same. Once that is done, the Court says it will reconstitute on Thursday the 25th of February 2021 to strike out the case