A review panel of the Supreme Court today affirmed its earlier ruling that Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson, Jean Mensa, cannot be compelled to testify.
The panel of nine followed in the trend of unanimous rulings that the apex court has been handing out to the petitioner, former President John Mahama, throughout the 2020 election petition so far.
An earlier panel comprising; Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, Justices Appau, Marful-Sau, Nene Amegatcher, Prof. Kotey, Mariama Owusu, and Gertrude Torkonoo had ruled that Jean Mensa’s witness statement does not mean she must necessarily give evidence.
The court also said the depositions in affidavits with regards to the interrogatories do not mean she can be compelled to mount the witness box.
Presiding judge, Kwasi Anin Yeboah, read the ruling, explaining that no provision in the constitution or statute has been pointed out to show that the EC Chairperson can be treated differently from what the established rules of trial prescribe.
The review application had been filed by former President Mahama after a seven member panel had earlier ruled Jean Mensa cannot be compelled to give evidence.
His lawyers had pointed out that that ruling was fundamentally erroneous and had copiously quoted precedents. However, the nine-member panel handed out a unanimous dismissal, bringing the number of unanimous dismissal of Mr. Mahama’s applications to six.
Justices Amadu Tanko and Lovelace Johnson had joined the original 7 member panel to hear the review.
Jean Mensah announced to the court she would not mount the witness box after Mr. Mahama had closed his case. The announcement was surprising to Mr. Mahama’s team because the same Jean Mensa had earlier said she would give evidence, using her promise as a basis to successfully fight attempts to serve her interrogatories and also inspect the EC’s documents.
The EC’s lawyers, together with President Akufo-Addo’s lawyers had relied on rule 54 of the Supreme Court rules (C.I 16) to insist that the conditions meriting a review has not been met.
These conditions are exceptional circumstances that have resulted in a miscarriage of justice and discovery of new and important matter or evidence which, after the exercise of due diligence was not within the applicant’s knowledge or could not be produced by him.
The 9-member panel ruled that these conditions have not been met.