A private legal practitioner lawyer Tachie Antiedu says it was not surprising that the Supreme Court by a unanimous decision dismissed the application by lawyers for petition John Dramani Mahama to inspect original documents in the custody of the Electoral Commission (EC).
He explained it is not in the rules of procedure used by the apex court for this application to be granted but through the inherent jurisdiction of the court, it could have granted on grounds for a fair trial.
The lawyer speaking on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm said the ruling should not surprise people.
He said the most important thing is the duties of a person who goes to court either as a petitioner or a plaintiff, you, have the burden to provide evidence to support your claims.
He said you have the burden to argue your case and convince the court that you have a strong case.
The lawyer told hoast Kwabena Agyapong the dismissal of the application was a big blow to the petitioner.
The petitioner was seeking to have documents which include the originals of the constituency presidential election result collation forms (form 9) for all constituencies, the originals of all constituency presidential election results summary sheet (form 10) and the originals of the regional presidential election collation forms (form 11) for all regions.
The others are the team is asking for the originals of the regional presidential election results summary sheets (form 12) for all regions and the original declaration of the presidential results form (form 13) and the records of the alleged update to the purported declaration of presidential election results on 9th December 2020, of the results of four (4) constituencies in the Greater Accra Region.
But the court in its ruling said the petitioner failed to demonstrate that he had no copies of the documents in question.
The court said the witnesses of the petitioner admitted on oath of having copies of the documents.
The chair of the panel Chief Justice Anin-Yeboah said the application and whether it would be granted was subject to the discretion of the court and not as of rights.
He added the application did not also raise that it had no copies of the original documents.
”In the instant case, the applicant has not raised any issue that he has no copies of the documents of the subject of this application. In view of the fact that the proceedings show the petitioner has copies of all the documents the subject of this application. We are of the opinion that no proper case has been made to warrant the exercise of our discretion in favour of the applicant.”
The lawyer in his opinion said this was not surprising and the copies the petitioner have is as genuine as the originals unless there is a situation the authenticity of a document is in doubt.
”In evidence act, the original copies are seen as the best evidence rule. In documentary evidence, the originals are the best but there exceptions and if there is no doubt with the copies, then it is as good as the originals. That was what the court based their ruling on and dismissed the application”.
In his view, it was needless for the petitioner to have pursued this application when their witnesses admitted under oath to having copies.
He stressed this has had a blow on the petitioner since his application was dismissed.