Member of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) Legal Team, Lawyer Gary Nimako has advised the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) 2020 Presidential Candidate John Dramani Mahama and his party to stop trying to force the Electoral Commission’s (EC) chair to take the witness box.
The learned fellow indicated that the NDC should focus on winning the petition they put before the Supreme Court on their own witness statements instead of banking on cross-examining the witnesses of the 1st and 2nd respondents.
According to him, the burden of proof for every court case, especially a civil one falls on the petitioner and not the respondent.
“If you go to the court and present a case as a plaintiff, petitioner or an applicant, that is your evidence and the court will rely on the evidence you provide to arrive at a ruling. As a petitioner, it is your duty if you bring a case to court to present the evidence and witnesses to speak on your behalf. You then state your stance and after you do that you will bear the burden of proof after presenting all the evidence before the court and convince them to rule in your favour.
Speaking in an interview on the Epa Hoa Daben political talk show, Gary Nimako said, “The court cannot force Jean Mensa to take the witness box. And if the NDC believe they have a good case, they can go ahead and win the petition with their evidence and not rely on the cross-examination of witnesses of the 1st and 2nd respondent”.
Gary expressed his utmost surprise at calls by the NDC for the 1st and 2nd respondents to present their witnesses for cross-examination. To him, the petitioner should be happy if the respondents decided not to call upon any of its witnesses. “As a matter of fact, you will and should be happy if the opponent in such a case decides not to talk and asks the court to go ahead and make its judgement. I don’t even see why an opponent in an adversarial case will say he will not speak and you are insisting he or she speaks.
He argued that some factions of the NDC are of the opinion that because the EC Chair and Peter Mac Manu speaking on behalf of the president had written their statements, they are mandated to enter the witness box.
On his authority, because any of these two have not entered the witness box, the statements cannot be submitted to the court as evidence.
As the 2020 election petition wears on, lawyers for the first respondent have resolved to hold the Electoral Commissioner, Jean Mensa from mounting the witness box with second respondent being represented by Peter Mac Manu doing same.
According to the legal teams, the petitioners have not provided enough evidence to back their claim which they believe does not merit their clients to testify even after the submission of their witness statement.