General News of Sunday, 21 April 2013
Dr. Gyawu Appiah, a physiologist, has stated that standing for hours in the dock to testify in the courts does not make physiological sense and pose a danger to witnesses.
He made these comments in reference to the on-going Supreme Court case which saw Dr. Bawumia, the second petitioner, stand for almost six hours making declarations under oath.
“A person can stand for that long period if everything is right. If he has no heart condition, if he is not diabetic or if he has no illness that has affected his vessels. Even soldiers who are noted for standing on their feet for a long time are thought how to stand. They are told to stand attention and later, at ease. This helps ease the pressure on the vessels so as not to impede circulation of blood flow in the body,” he explained.
Dr. Appiah was of the view that in the process of testifying, one should be able to request to sit down because standing for so long a time could come with dangerous consequences.
According to him, the 2012 Presidential debate is a good example. After the first debate in which the Presidential candidates stood for hours to answer questions, there was the call for seats to be provided in the second round because the candidates were visibly tired of standing for that long in the first deliberations.
The Physiologist made this observation in an interview on Adom Fm in which he was asked of the possible effects of prolonged standing of Dr. Bawumia. The renowned economist stood on his feet for close to six hours on Wednesday to deliver what he believes was a systematic and blatant infringement of the constitution and the rules governing the electoral process in Ghana, after which he was cross-examined.
In his view, many of the procedures of court do not make physiological sense to him because he does not understand why lawyers go to the courts wearing wigs, suits and robes in Africa but was quick to add that he may be talking from ignorance because he is not a lawyer.
He further called for counselors to advice on intermittent walks and stretching of limbs if it is anticipated a witness is going to be in the dock for hours so as to avert any catastrophes.