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Important Update-SALL Petitioners seek early trial as Amewu files his Answer to Election Petition

Mr John Peter Amewu
Mr John Peter Amewu
January 23rd, 2024
At the hearing in the High Court, Ho, on Friday, 19th January 2024 of the election petition against Hon. Peter Amewu, the Counsel for the SALL Petitioners, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, sought leave of the court to withdraw the application for judgment on admissions that had earlier been filed on behalf of the Petitioners. He indicated that, with the late entry of appearance of Hon Amewu, the court would have to grant him also a hearing on that application, as Counsel for Hon. Amewu requested in his application to arrest the ruling. This would occasion delay and, therefore, it would be in the interest of justice that the court rather proceed to an early trial. He emphasized the urgency of the matters at stake in the Petition. According to Counsel, the 8th Parliament of the 4th Republic would end without the participation of the people in the SALL Traditional Areas if the court did not set aside the election of an MP for Hohoe constituency that took place on 7th December 2020 without the participation of the voters in the SALL Traditional Areas. This situation, Counsel urged, undermines democracy and constitutes a danger to the unity of the Republic of Ghana.
In response to a question from His Lordship Justice Owoahene Acheampong as to whether an application to withdraw could be entertained in respect of an application for judgment on admissions that had been moved by Counsel and adjourned for ruling, Mr. Tsikata quoted from a precedent of the Supreme Court allowing withdrawal of a case brought before the court for constitutional interpretation. The Supreme Court indicated that it would not compel a litigant to proceed with a suit he no longer wished to pursue.
Counsel also cited a previous decision of the Court of Appeal not to proceed to deliver a judgment it had reserved to give on a particular date but rather take evidence to clarify a matter in the interest of attaining justice before giving judgment on a later date. Counsel urged the court to adopt a similar approach.
Mr. Tsikata also referred the court to article 296 (a) and (b) of the 1992 Constitution and argued that the High Court judge had to exercise his discretion in respect of the application in a manner that was not arbitrary and capricious but fair and reasonable. He insisted that the Petitioners who had brought the application were now seeking to withdraw it and pointed out that the issues that were under consideration in the application for judgment on admissions would be among the issues to be decided on at the trial that Petitioners were seeking an early date for. It was reasonable for leave to be granted by the High Court for the withdrawal, Counsel submitted.
Counsel for the Electoral Commission, Mr. Sakyi-Boampong, as well as Counsel for Hon Amewu, Mr. Benedict Kofitse, indicated to the court that they were not opposed to the application by Counsel for the Petitioners to withdraw the application for judgment on admissions.
His Lordship Justice Owoahene Acheampong stated that, having heard the submissions and the authorities cited by Counsel for the Petitioners, he would adjourn his ruling to 7th February 2024.
Counsel for Petitioners then sought to move an application for directions from the court for trial which was also fixed to be heard on 19th January 2024. Counsel for the Electoral Commission objected, stating that, though the Commission had been served with the application for directions, he needed time to consult with his clients and to file additional issues. Counsel asked the court to make haste slowly. Mr. Tsikata, for the Petitioners responded by arguing that it would still be open to the Electoral Commission to file additional issues after the application for directions.
Counsel for Hon Amewu sided with Counsel for the Electoral Commission in objecting to the hearing that day of the application for directions.
His Lordship Justice Owoahene Acheampong ruled that he would only take the application for directions after giving his ruling on the motion to withdraw the motion for judgment on admissions. The matter was, therefore, adjourned to 7th February 2024.
Following the filing on 4th January 2024 by the lawyer for Honourable Peter Amewu of his Answer to the election petition filed against him, the Petitioners filed a reply to the Answer on 9th January 2024. Petitioners also filed a reply to the Answer filed by the Electoral Commission as well as the application for directions that sets out the issues arising from the pleadings of the parties and requests an early date for the trial. The Petitioners also ask the court in the application for directions to order the Electoral Commission to provide the court and the parties authentic copies of the Constitutional Instrument 119 and Constitutional Instrument 128 which the Commission is relying on in its defence.
Filed on behalf of SALL
Franklin Cudjoe,  Lolobi Kumasi
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