You can’t be satisfied with my answer -Tsatsu tells court
Humour was witnessed in court yesterday, when the lead counsel for the petitioner in the 2020 presidential election petition, Tsatsu Tsikata, told the Bench that it could not say it was satisfied with his answer when he had not completed.
Mr Tsikata was arguing on a review application he had filed on the ruling of the court that disallowed Jean Mensa, Chairperson of the first Respondent, from testifying in the case.
In responding to the argument of lead counsel for the 1st Respondent, Justin Amenuvor, on what reliance the petitioner placed on the deposition in the affidavit of the 1st Respondent, Mr Tsikata said the petitioner did place some reliance.
While at it, the Bench asked counsel whether those affidavits were sworn in before witnesses were put in during the interlocutory proceedings.
Though Mr Tsikata answered in the affirmative, he continued to give further explanation, which met another interjection from the Bench that his answer was satisfactory.
But, he did not understand why the Bench should be satisfied with his answer before he completes it, a scene which created amusement in the court room.
Read what transpired
Bench: Mr Tsikata, I have a question. My question is this. These affidavits, were they not sworn to before the hearing? They were sworn to during the interlocutory applications. Were they not sworn to before you put your witnesses in for hearing?
Tsikata: Yes, they were.
Bench: Thank you.
Tsikata: And my Lords, that has no significance for the reliance that we placed on it in the conduct of our case, because your Lordships will… (Bench interjects)
Bench: I am satisfied with you answer
Tsikata: No, you can’t be satisfied (laughter in the court room). Yes, My Lords, you can’t be satisfied when I have not completed my answer. I’ve not completed and your lordship says I’m satisfied with your answer. You’re cutting me short in giving an answer that will address what underlines your question because… (Bench interjects). If my lady can allow me.
Bench: Just a minute, respectfully Mr Tsikata. These are matters of fact. The date on which the affidavits were filed. The date on which the trial was conducted. These are matters of fact so I could even do that evaluation without asking you a question. I chose to ask you the question so that you could avert your mind and confirm. That is all. So, in answering my question (Tsikata interjects).
Tsikata: So, may I complete my answer. Because My Lords, when affidavits are sworn to in interlocutory proceedings, in the cause of a trial, it is open for instance, to put the matters that were deposed to in an affidavit in an interlocutory proceeding to a witness when he enters the witness box, and to put before them didn’t you say this on oath in an affidavit before this court? This is a matter that is quite basic in the practice that I am familiar with that when you have an affidavit sworn on oath in an interlocutory proceeding, and a witness comes into the witness box to testify, that affidavit can always be put to them in terms of the veracity of the things that they stated. So, you can’t just because this was done in terms of interlocutory proceedings that were before the trial itself they have no bearing on the conduct of our case.
Because my lady will record that this whole matter of crossing that bridge when we get there was in terms of whether cross-examination would provide the opportunity for those matters to be addressed, and your lordships put across the perspective that shouldn’t we be waiting until cross-examination before we address those matters.
Indeed, that is precisely what we did, because your lordships ruled against us so we had to wait for the cross-examination to take place and we waited on the basis of sworn affidavit by the chairperson of the first respondent.
At this point, Mr Tsikata who had earlier finished his main argument and was only responding to issues raised during the arguments of the two respondents, ended his submission, following which the court took a break and came back with their ruling.
The nine-member court, presided over by Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, unanimously dismissed the application.
According to the court, the petitioner did not raise any new points, neither did he provide any exceptional circumstance for which the court should review its ruling on February 11.
The court has since adjourned the hearing to Monday, February 22, 2021.