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Politics

Justice Atuguba averts Tsatsu, Bawumia ‘fight’

The presiding judge in hearing on the petition challenging results of the 2012 Presidential Polls, Justice William Atuguba, had to timely intervene during Tuesday’s proceedings after lead counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and witness-in-chief of the petitioners were nearly embroiled in exchange of words.

“This is not a free fight,” Justice William Atuguba intervened.

Tsatsu Tsikata had accused Dr Mahamudu Bawumia of being dishonest to the court by submitting inaccurate pink sheets to the Supreme Court.

In a riposte to Mr Tsikata, Dr Bawumia said NDC’s lead counsel was afraid of the truth and that can only be the reason why he is accusing him of being dishonest.

This drew in the presiding judge, who stated that counsel had a right, within the confines of the law, to label anyone in the witness box but it is wrong for a witness to cross-label counsel.

“My lord, with the greatest respect we must not take this likely. This witness is saying I am afraid of the truth,” Mr Tsikata complained.

This provoked the petitioners’ lead counsel, Phillip Addison, who said counsel on the other side got what he wanted because he had accused the witness several times of being dishonest.

“Don’t fight the battle beyond these confines,” Justice Atuguba advised Mr Tsikata and Dr Bawumia.

“Just limit yourselves through the extent of the fashion.”

Calm was restored for cross-examination to continue.

Meanwhile, an application filed by Mr Tsikata on Monday to cross-examine some of the petitioners’ witnesses who swore affidavit  in their evidence, has been deferred to Thursday, May 16, 2013.

Announcing the deferment date, Justice Atuguba indicated that counsel for the first and second respondents have also filed similar writs and it was appropriate for ruling to be given on a single day.


Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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Politics

Tsatsu suffers collateral damage as ploy to destroy Bawumia’s credibility backfires – NPP

After seven (7) days of cross examination of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia by Counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Tsatsu Tsikata, in the ongoing Presidential Election Petition hearings, what has become apparent is the failure of the Counsel to damage the credibility of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, but rather the unintended damage suffered by Tsatsu to his own image in various incidents which have gone a considerable way to also weaken the case of the respondents.

It became very obvious from the cross examination of Tony Lithur, Counsel for John Mahama, earlier in the trial that the key strategy was to dent the image and credibility of the petitioners, particularly Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who led the team that uncovered the irregularities that affected the conduct and outcome of the December 7th Presidential Elections.

With Counsel Tony Lithur obviously failing to achieve this goal after almost four days of cross examination, the onus fell squarely on Tsatsu Tsikata to accomplish the mission of destroying the image of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as well as Nana Akufo-Addo, 1st Petitioner in the case, and in extension destroy the case of the petitioners.

For the past seven days, the preoccupation of Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata in his cross examination of the witness has been impugning the credibility of Dr. Bawumia time and again and even after valid objections on the choice of language by the Counsel from both lawyers of the petitioners and the nine member panel adjudging the case.

However, after brazen attempts, what has also become obvious so far is that Tsatsu Tsikata, as well failing in his legal task of destroying the case of the petitioners, has rather become the biggest casualty in the trial as a result of various incidents which have placed on him a tag of notoriety which he would have rather avoided.

The first major slur on Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata’s image occurred on the 1st day of his cross examination when he had to receive key lessons from the witness on the electoral processes after he suggested that the Form 1C used in the elections was for disabled voters only, in his attempt to justify the incidents of voting without biometric verification. This was quickly disproved by the witness who showed that indeed every voter was issued with a Form 1C.

Subsequently, the witness also educated the Counsel on the fact that even disabled voters were verified by the Biometric Verification device by face only as had been indicated by the Electoral Commission prior to the elections and that the argument that those who voted without being verified by the device were the disabled was untenable.

These early body shots painted a picture of a counsel who was ill-informed on the processes and the issues around the case itself.

The next major slur on the Counsel’s image was to occur on the 2nd day when in apparent attempt to tear down the petitioner’s categorization of twenty-two (22) polling stations as unknown, introduced some letters which he claimed were signed by Nana Akufo-Addo, the Presidential Candidate for the NPP in the 2012 Elections, authorizing some agents to represent him at those polling stations.

However, when the letters were scrutinized by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia it turned out that the letters which supposedly were dated between the 5th and 7th of December (Election Day) were however stamped to have been received on the 3rd of December, three to four clear days before they were supposedly written.

These strange features of the letters led to Dr. Bawumia questioning them and calling for their originals to be tended, a challenge which till date remains unaccepted as Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata quickly moved away from questioning on the letters and has since not returned to them.

Another landmark event in the trial so far occurred when contrary to all the ethics of the legal profession and good behaviour, Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata in open court vented his frustration on lead Counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison who had tried to raise an objection. The NDC Lawyer in open defiance of established court room practice and disregard for the eminent justices angrily told the lawyer for the petitioners to shut up, a language which has since attracted condemnation from many lawyers and large sections of the society. Till date, Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata has refused to apologize sending a clear message of disregard for all involved in the case.

Another key moment of disgrace for Tsatsu occurred on the 7th day of his cross examination when he made a bold declaration to the court that on the face of the affidavit deposed to by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the polling stations in contention could not be up to 11,842 as the petitioners had claimed in their affidavit. The Counsel then applied to the Court for a quick calculation to be done on the numbers on the face of the affidavit to prove the case he had made consistently that the petitioners were arithmetically challenged.

Three Justices of the court all took up the challenge and calculated for themselves the numbers in the affidavit and in a matter of minutes confirmed the position of the petitioners that there were 11,842 polling stations in contention for which pink sheets were submitted as exhibits to the court. This really exposed the NDCs Counsel as the one who was arithmetically challenged.

Generally, the 7 day cross examination of the witness has demystified what had almost become the legend of Tsatsu Tsikata who for a long while had been held as a legal genius and colossus who perhaps had no equal.

Instead of delivering fireworks to collapse the case of the petitioners, what Tsatsu Tsikata has done is to, more or less, duplicate the cross examination of Counsel Tony Lithur whose cross examination had been graded as a disappointing show even for NDC faithful and as a result of which all hope was thrust on Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata to save the presidency of John Mahama.


Source: NPP Communications Directorate

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Politics

Tsatsu may continue cross-examination “till thy kingdom come” – lawyer

President of the Legal Advocacy Foundation Dr Maurice Ampaw has commended parties embroiled  in the Supreme Court’s hearing on the landmark suit disputing results of the 2012 presidential polls.

He says all parties have comported themselves well so far though he singled out the panel, saying they have done exceptionally well.

Speaking on TV3’s Midday Live on Friday, May 10, 2013, Dr Ampaw mentioned that he does not see any end in sight regarding the cross-examination of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the principal witness of the petitioners, by Tsatsu Tsikata, lead counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

“He will continue till thy kingdom come,” Dr Ampaw said.

He explained that the auditing of the pink sheets as directed by the Court is an auxiliary case to the petition and such trend may continue throughout Mr Tsikata’s cross-examination.

Already, Mr Tsikata’s cross-examination has taken seven days.

Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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Politics

Tsatsu shot down, according to NPP

Day 13 of the Presidential Election Petition hearings, like recent few days, turned out to be a very difficult day for Counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC), 3rd Respondents in the case, Tsatsu Tsikata as he faced numerous challenges from the nine member panel sitting on the Supreme Court case as well as Counsel for the petitioners on how he was conducting his cross examination of the main witness of the petitioners, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

The day started with an obviously confused Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata trying to continue on the line of cross examination on “new” pink sheets which were not part of the petitioners’ case as he seemed not to have understood the ruling given by the Justices on Tuesday.

Lawyer Tsikata was quickly hustled out of that line of cross examination despite obvious misgivings by the NDC lawyer. Justice Atuguba, Presiding Judge reminded Counsel Tsikata that the court had clearly ruled on it and that the witness could not be asked questions on pink sheets he did not know about.

Later on in the trial Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata despite the clear ruling of the justices decided to introduce another new pink sheet which he suggested related to voting without biometric verification but here again, the NDC lawyer was put in order after an objection raised by Counsel for the petitioners, Philip Addison who reminded the judges that the Counsel for the 3rd Respondents was seeking to do the same thing the court had directed him not to do.

Justice Atuguba once again reminded Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata that what he was seeking to do had already been ruled on and that he should wait and direct such questions to his witnesses when they appear. Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata tried to suggest that what he had tried to do with the earlier new pink sheet was in relation to over voting but Justice Atuguba noted that the Judges had understood that attempt to be an attempt to suggest that there were other areas where there were other irregularities and not only over voting and as such the ruling covered all such attempts.

Counsel Tsikata then sought to inquire from the witness if he thought all such polling stations where irregularities were evident on the face of the pink sheets should be annulled but the Justice Atuguba reminded him that he had already asked the question and had received a response from the witness.

At this point, Justice Atuguba not only urged Tsatsu Tsikata not to continue his repetitive questioning but also went ahead to describe the cross examination of Tsatsu Tsikata as becoming ‘desultory’, meaning lacking focus, purpose and plan.

But the biggest talking point of the day came when Tsatsu Tsikata tried to suggest that the petitioners had not been honest with their analysis.

Counsel for the Petitioners, Philip Addison quickly rose to object and called the attention of the judges to the continuous use of derogatory and unsavory words and comments by the NDC counsel. He wondered why Lawyer Tsikata could not make his arguments without resort to unsavory words.

“It’s quite surprising coming from him (Tsatsu Tsikata) talking about honesty, really. Coming from him is quite rich. He keeps playing to the gallery and we have warned that we can also use such words” Philip Addison added.

The comments of Counsel Philip Addison clearly unsettled Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata who could only try to use the Evidence Decree to justify his use of the various words for which Counsel Addison had complained. But once again Justice Atuguba redirected him saying Counsel, “honestly I find it difficult to understand the battle you are seeking to fight”


Source: NPP Communications Directorate

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Politics

Blame EC for doing a bad job, not us – Bawumia tells Tsatsu

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia on Wednesday told Lawyer for 3rd Respondents, Tsatsu Tsikata that since it was the Electoral Commission that produced the pink sheets which detail the various irregularities that occurred at various polling stations, they would be the ones who have to stand accused for doing a bad job.

Dr. Bawumia, main witness of the petitioners in the ongoing Presidential Election Petition case seeking to overturn the declaration of John Mahama as winner of the December Presidential Elections, made these comments while answering to questions from the Counsel for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who has been cross examining the witness for the past six days and is set to continue on Thursday.

Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata had suggested during his cross examination that the petitioners had selected some pink sheets which, in his view, showed over voting as a result of what he termed administrative and mathematical errors as part of their case in court.

However, Dr. Bawumia disagreed and pointed out to Counsel that the justification of the irregularities as errors could not hold because one could not exactly state where on the form or in the electoral process other errors occurred and that it was best for everyone to address himself to the evidence on the face of the pink sheets and avoid going into conjectures on what might have happened or what did not happen.

The lead witness for the petitioners who has been in the witness box for a total of 12days further reminded the counsel for the 3rd Respondents that if anything it is the 2nd Respondent, the Electoral Commission, that would stand accused for supervising an election riddled with irregularities or errors as the Counsel termed it and not the petitioners since it was the EC that produced those pink sheets with irregularities evident on its face.

At another point in the hearing, Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata suggested that the annulments the petitioners were seeking in court would hugely disadvantage John Mahama because the petitioners had deliberately selected polling stations where John Mahama won and were seeking to annul them and that there were more polling stations which had similar irregularities which had not been presented by the petitioners.

To this query, Dr. Bawumia explained that that could not be the case because the 11,842 polling stations the petitioners were seeking to annul were in 272 out of the 275 constituencies and thus no conclusion of selectivity could be made.

He also explained that as had been stated earlier, the petitioners had had access to and analyzed only around 24,000 pink sheets out of the 26,002 polling stations across the country and that that was the reason why the petitioners at the pretrial case requested that the Electoral Commission be made to submit all the 26,002 pink sheets.

He noted that it was possible that if the petitioners had gotten access to all 26,002 polling stations, they would have found more irregularities in more polling stations and indicated that it would be good if the NDC could also bring out new cases of such irregularities in case the party wanted to now become co-petitioners.

In all, Counsel Tsatsu Tsikata as has become trademark used a large part of the day to go through various pink sheets which he claimed did not show over voting.

The witness however justified most of such exhibits and showed to the court why such exhibits pointed to over voting in the various polling stations where they emanated from.

Source: NPP Communications Directorate

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Politics

I find Tsatsu’s attitude “weird” – Ursula Owusu

Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma West Constituency Ursula Owusu says the lead counsel of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the election petition currently being heard at the Supreme Court, Tsatsu Tsikata, has failed to uphold standards of the learned profession.

The former President of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ghana said imputing ill-motive to a witness in the witness box smacks of dragging the name of the profession in the mud.

Speaking to our court correspondent on Tuesday, May 7, 2013, Ursula Owusu, who was attending session in the Supreme Court only for her second time, stated that Mr Tsatsu Tsikata’s standing as a lawyer does not warrant such attitude.

“He taught me. He is a senior lawyer,” she noted.

“It is a little offensive,” she said of Mr Tsikata’s style of cross-examination.

“For a lawyer of his standing to use such words…it is weird.”

The former Vice President of the Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) commended Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, noting that: “He has been an exceptional witness”.

 

Source: 3news.com|Ghana