Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ongoing election petition - We have enough evidence to obtain favourable judgement - Petitioners

 August 2, 2013 (Page 23)

Philip Addison, lead Counsel for PetionersPhilip Addison, lead Counsel for Petioners 

The petitioners in the 2012 presidential election challenge say that they have succeeded in producing a “mountain” of evidence sufficient enough to discharge the burden of proof placed on them and to obtain a favourable decision from the Supreme Court.
According to them, the evidence they had adduced at the close of trial remained unchallenged in all material effects.
These sentiments were contained in the address of counsel for the petitioners which was submitted to the court on Tuesday, July 30, 2013.

The Address
The petitioners’ address said, among many other things, that to prosecute their case, they filed and relied on 10,119 pink sheets which spoke to the nature of the violations, malpractices and irregularities grounding the petition.
According to the 176-page document, the respondents, on the other hand, failed or refused to file any pink sheet, except the 17 pink sheets the Electoral Commission (EC) was compelled to tender in evidence on the penultimate day of trial in an attempt to rebut damning evidence led against it.
“This was so, even though the EC is the body constitutionally mandated to conduct public elections and referenda, and notwithstanding the fact that it is the official custodian of the pink sheets in the election,” it said.
It said beyond reliance on inconsequential reports of election observers, the respondents, in effect, tendered no evidence of substance of their own, adding that they all sought to whittle down and reduce the number of pink sheet exhibits the petitioners had filed on technical grounds of defects in the labelling of the pink sheet exhibits.
“They seized the slightest occasion to hurl baseless attacks of criminality, forgery, the manufacturing and smuggling of pink sheets into evidence, even though unsubstantiated, on petitioners,” it said.
According to the document, the Chairman of the EC, who was the returning officer of the presidential election, “with respect”, cut an unconvincing figure with his evasive, inconsistent and contradictory answers during cross-examination, pointing out that “his credibility by the end of the trial was all but gone”.
It said the petitioners had shown, by the sheer depth and weight of the evidence adduced at the trial and the force of legal arguments advanced in the address that there had, indeed, been substantial constitutional and statutory violations, malpractices and irregularities in the 2012 presidential election and that those violations, malpractices and irregularities had a material effect on the results of the election as declared by the EC.

Court’s Decision
The document said the decision that the Supreme Court would finally arrive at would have fundamental and far-reaching consequences for the future of democracy in the country.
“It will either affirm the commitment of citizens to our democratic journey and bolster their confidence in democratic institutions and the rule of law or undermine their belief in the political and legal institutions of the nation,” it held.
According to the document, what all citizens expected from the highest court of the land was the interpretation and enforcement of the Constitution and the law and their application to the evidence adduced in the trial without fear or favour, “as the judicial oath of the learned justices of this Honourable Court requires of them”.
“It is, accordingly, the respectful submission of petitioners that a case worthy of all the reliefs that they seek has been made out,” it added.
It said the Constitution insisted that only valid votes be taken into account in the determination of the validity of the election of the President of the Republic.
“That is the clear teaching of Article 63 (3). The consequence is that if the invalid votes, totalling 2,622,551, attributed to the first respondent are taken out of  5,574,761 votes declared for him,  the total valid votes the first respondent, in fact and in law, obtained are 2,952,210, representing 41.79 per cent of the valid votes cast in the 2012 election.
“The declaration made on 9th December, 2012 by the second respondent and set out in the Constitutional Instrument of the President Elect Instrument, 2012 (CI 80), made under the hand of the chairman of the second respondent, was, therefore, made wrongfully and this court is respectfully invited to hold that his election was invalid and to set aside same as null and void.
“In the premises, this Honourable Court is respectfully invited to hold that the first petitioner, having obtained 4,0157,12 valid votes cast, as a result of the annulment of 1,233,186 invalid votes from the figure of 5,248,898 declared for him by the second respondent, resulting in first petitioner obtaining 56.85 per cent of the valid votes cast, should be declared by this Honourable Court as the winner of the 2012 presidential election,” the document further submitted.

Categories of irregularities at 10,119 polling stations
• Over-voting affected 1,722 polling stations, while voting without biometric verification occurred at 2,020 polling stations.
• The irregularity of absence of presiding officers’ signature occurred at 638 polling stations.
• Use of duplicate serial numbers on pink sheets affected 8,987 polling stations.
• The analyses of the petitioners are all backed by details of the polling stations, including polling station names, polling station codes, pink sheet serial numbers and votes secured by the various candidates at the various  polling stations contained in Volume 2 of the addresses submitted.
• The petitioners also showed in their addresses that all the four main irregularities on their own had a material impact on the results declared and that annulling the polling stations affected by any of the four irregularities would mean that the declared winner, John Mahama, did not secure the required over 50 per cent.

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