Supreme Court’s directive meant to disarm respondents – NDC

General News of Sunday, 21 April 2013

Source: Joy Online

Supreme Court Justices Walk

A Supreme Court directive on new rules for cross examination in the election petition case is a calculated move to disarm the respondents, a member of the NDC legal team, Abraham Amaliba, has said.

On Thursday counsel for the first respondent spent about five hours cross-examining a principal witness in the case, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, on duplication of pink sheets filed by the petitioners. After going through over 35 of the submitted pink sheets, the court adjourned sitting to Monday, but the counsel indicated that there were more duplication he wanted to bring to the attention of the court.

However, a statement issued on Friday by Justice William Atuguba, the chairman of the panel of judges hearing the case, directed the counsel for the first respondent, Tony Lithur, to list all duplicated pink sheets and send an electronic version of the list to the court and to the 2nd petitioner, which it said could be tended in evidence.

Administrative fiat

But Mr Abraham Amaliba said the directive would affect the respondents as it will take away the element of “surprise” in cross-examination. He was speaking on Joy FM’s news analysis programme Newsfile on Saturday.

He described the Supreme Court’s decision as an “administrative fiat” and disagreed that the method chosen by the counsel in his cross-examination would delay the processes.

He wondered why the amendment of the petition, and the call for adjournment of the case by the petitioners on April 16 did not amount to a delay.

“Just five hours [of cross-examination] and the Supreme Court is shivering that there is a delay,” he remarked.

Mr Amaliba also questioned why the eminent judges did not ask the counsel for the petitioners to submit to the court and to the respondents, the questions he asked his client.

“Did they say Addison’s questions to Dr Bawumia should be put in an envelope and given to us, so that we also have knowledge of the questions?…what is good for the goose is equally good for the gander,” he said.

“Why? What is the purpose of cross-examination? It’s to expose the inconsistency in the witness’ testimony; …it is also to the test the veracity of what the witness has said; …it is to spring surprise.”