The seven-member panel of the Supreme Court hearing the 2020 presidential election petition, following a lengthy argument by counsels on Friday, ruled to strike out 7 paragraphs in the petitioner’s witness statement.
Lawyer Akoto Ampaw, counsel for the second respondent (President Akufo-Addo) was the first to raise objections, asking the court to strike out ten paragraphs in the witness statement. According to him, they were “not based on the pleadings of the petitioner, unduly prejudicial and scandalous”.
He was opposed by the petitioner’s lead counsel, Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata, who argued that the objections were preposterous.
Lawyer Justin Amenuvor, lead counsel for the Electoral Commission supported Mr Akoto Ampaw’s objections.
Consequently, the Supreme Court justices ruled to maintain three out of the ten paragraphs objected to, and ruled to expunge the remaining seven.
The paragraphs maintained were paragraphs 21, 32 and 33. The expunged ones are paragraphs 6, 7, 25, 26, 28, 30 and 3.
Read from the statement of the witness the expunged paragraphs as well as the maintained ones below:
Read Below excerpts of the court’s ruling on the matter:
The 1st and 2nd respondents have raised objections to portions of the witness statements of Mr. John Asiedu Nketia who has been sworn in this court as PW1.
The objections to these paragraphs precisely paragraphs 21, 6, 7, 25, 26, 28, 30, 32, 33, and 37. Both counsels based their objections to the witness statements of PW1 on two grounds that some of the paragraphs under attack are not based on the pleadings on record and some of the statements are unduly scandalous and prejudicial. It will be preferable to set out the paragraphs in the witness statements which in our view are amenable to be struck out.
We are of the opinion that paragraphs 6and 7 ought to be struck out as the witness (Mr. Johnson Asiedu Nketia) cannot testify on the facts in the said paragraphs. It would have been admissible if the petitioner himself is testifying and the statements in the said paragraphs are not within the knowledge of the witness.
We find paragraph 21 as a matter which has its foundation in the pleadings and same is accordingly maintained.
As regards paragraph 25, we find out that part and that paragraph is hereby struck out as not based on the pleadings.
In respect to paragraph 26, the court is of the opinion that the statement is also struck out on the basis that it has no foundation in the pleadings.
As regards paragraph 28, it is not borne out of the pleadings and same is accordingly struck out.
In respect to paragraph 30, the court is of the view that it has no foundation in the pleadings as it just refers to C.I. 127 which the witness cannot testify on the statutes.
As regards paragraphs 32 and 33, we find that they are based on the pleadings and therefore maintained to be part of the witness statements.
In respect to paragraph 37, we find that it is just an inference to be drawn and not evidence and therefore proceed to struck it out.
The court, therefore, orders that the paragraphs referred to offends the law and are hereby expunged from the witness statement of PW1.
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