Presiding Judge William Atuguba has ruled that the hearing on the application by Counsel for the third respondent Tsatsu Tsikata to cross examine petitioners’ witness who have come by affidavits evidence be set for May 16.

Before the court rose yesterday, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata indicated that he had a motion to cross-examine key witnesses of the petitioners.

Details of the motion were not disclosed, but it was learnt that there were about three witnesses supposedly from the New patriotic Party whom Mr Tsikata sought to cross-examine.

What is however clear was that the petitioners would contest the motion because they were opposed to it.

A member of the legal team of the petitioners, Ms Gloria Akufo, said in an interview yesterday.

In his ruling Presiding Judge Atuguba said the 1st and 2nd Respondents, Tony Lithur and Quarshie Idun respectively have also filed similar motions.

It will therefore be convenient to hear all motions at the same time.

He therefore sets May 16 for the hearing of the motion. Counsel on all sides agreed to the adjournment.

The Supreme Court has established a mode of trial which allows all witnesses to submit their testimony by affidavit instead of mounting the witness stand.

The exception has however been made for key witnesses to testify in person. This explains Dr. Bawumia’s presence in the box.

Tsatsu’s bid if successful would see a fresh witness from the petitioners in the box

Read the following to understand the basis for Atuguba’s ruling

First of all, the Supreme Court Rules gives the panel the discretion to “…adjourn any action or matter before it as it considers fit to do and upon such terms as it may think fit.” The established practice or explanation is that it would consider such postponement necessary in the interest of justice. That is the guiding principle and I find this warranting the adjournment and all parties also agreeing. In this situation, however, the overriding consideration is the need to consolidate the various and similar other processes we are told have been filed by the other parties. The practice and for good reason according Order 31 of the High Court Rules is that where two or more “…matters are pending in the same Court and it appears to the Court:

(a) that some common question of law or fact arises in both or all of them; or
(b) that the rights to relief claimed are in respect of or arise out of the same transaction or series of transactions; or
(c) that for some other reason it is desirable to make an order under this rule,

the Court may order those causes or matters to be consolidated on such terms as it considers just, or may order them to be tried at the same time or one immediately after another, or may order any of them to be stayed until the determination of any other of them.”

They are simply availing themselves of what I term “the narrow but difficult window to access” which the Court from the onset early in April directed was available to witnesses who will swear affidavits for the trial. The Petitioners have less than a dozen of such witnesses while the 1st and 3rd Respondents have in excess of 7000 of such witnesses. The decision was that such witnesses were liable to be cross-examined if the party applying for them to be called into the witness box could advance compelling reasons for the application. [Credit to Samson Lardy Ayenini]