A member of the legal team of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the ongoing presidential election petition hearing at the Supreme Court, Mr Frank Davies, has told Tsatsu Tsikata, lead lawyer for the petitioner that he cannot circumvent the rules governing the trial.
He argued that Mr Tsikata and Mahama’s legal team cannot come to court on a set of rules and now want to circumvent the rules by their own “careless abandon”.
Mr Tsikata had told the apex court on Wednesday that much as the court is desirous of sticking to the timelines specified in C.I 99 for the adjudication of election petitions, it should not be done in disregard of justice.
In response, lawyer Frank Davis dismissed Mr Tsikata’s claim justice should not be sacrificed for expedition, arguing that “Justice delayed is justice denied”.
The lead counsel for former President Mahama (Petitioner) was reacting to orders by the court for all the parties to file their witness statements by 12 noon yesterday, a timeline the lawyer complained was too short.
He averred that the Supreme Court’s insistence of such a short timeline was not justified in law.
However, the Justices of the highest court of the land pointed out the modification of the law, which culminated in Constitutional Instrument (C.I 99).
This, they noted, required the court to operate within strict timelines, a requirement the court cannot compromise.
C.I 99, which was passed in 2016, stipulates that presidential election petitions should be disposed of within 42 days.
Mr Mahama, presidential candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the 2020 general election filed the petition on December 30, 2020, asking the apex court to annul the polls and order a re-run between him and President Akufo-Addo who was declared the winner of the election.
The Supreme Court chaired by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah was of the view that lawyers in the current case should have known that they would be required to file witness statements and that those should have been prepared ahead of time.
But dissatisfied Mr Tsikata told the court that adherence to those timelines should not injure justice.
“Justice cannot be sacrificed for expedition”, he claimed.
However, speaking to journalists after proceedings on Wednesday, Mr Frank Davies said the petitioners should have known they were going to be asked to file their witness statements.
“As petitioners, they should have known that C.I 99 governs the proceedings and C.I 99 has been in place since 2016. When did they realize about expedition, delay and justice?
“Of course expedition is justice. You don’t come to court on a set of rules and you want to circumvent the rules by your own careless abandon. How do you come to court with a petition and you don’t know you have to file your witness statements? I don’t understand what is meant by sacrificing justice on the altar for expedition.
“What is meant by sacrificing justice on the altar of expedition?
“Justice delayed is justice denied. So what is it? They are just not ready. They were advocating for a live broadcast of proceedings and now everybody is seeing what is happening in court. Everyday lead counsel for the petitioners is making one complaint or the other.
“You cannot blame the failure of a bad farm on your tools of implementation. Your farm is your farm and it depends on how you cultivate it so we should not ponder over this repeated rhetoric of sacrificing justice for expedition.”