Lawyers for the petitioner have every reason to retire to their Chambers beaming with smiles because the Court has inadvertently pandered to their game plan. The essence of filing an application for stay of proceedings was to put ice on the hearing of the petition which was scheduled for today until the application for review which is scheduled for Thursday, January 28, is determined. In other words, the petitioners wanted the review application determined before the hearing of the petition today.
You would recall that at the last adjourned date, lawyers for the Petitioner were not pleased with the court’s decision to start hearing the petition today before the review application on Thursday. In fact, lawyer Marrietta Brew Oppong, former AG, could not fathom why the court took that position and ordered for the filing of a witness statement when the Petitioner’s review application was pending.
To ensure that the application for review is head before the hearing of the petition commences, the Petitioner, through his lawyers, filed for a stay of proceedings to halt the hearing temporarily. Arguments for the application for stay of proceedings were to be taken today. Unfortunately, that was not done as the court was not pleased with the Petitioner’s decision not to file its witness statement and legal argument in opposition to the preliminary objection by the respondents as it ordered. After what I considered to be an anticipated rebuke by the Justices, the court ordered the petitioner to file the witness statement and legal argument in opposition to the preliminary objection by close of day tomorrow, Wednesday, January 27, 2020.
What this then means is that lawyers for the Petitioner have succeeded, even without an order of the court granting the order for stay of proceedings, to get the review application heard on Thursday together with the other applications, and the petition itself. If all these things will be done on Thursday, then the review application will be heard first before the petition. Today, the court made it clear that the Petitioner can file a supplementary statement if he so wishes after the review application has been heard. So after filing the witness statement on Wednesday, the Petitioner, if he so wishes, can file a supplementary statement after the hearing of the review application on Thursday. This is certainly a win for the Petitioners and a further boost to their case and legal strategy. They have managed to get the court to run at the pace they wanted. And this must tell critics of Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata, particularly Kojo Oppong Nkrumah and Nana B, that it takes more than bearing the title lawyer and carrying documents, to stand on your feet and get a court like an apex court of the land to play according to your legal strategy.
It is most likely that on Thursday, the petitioner may abandon the application for stay of proceedings as the purpose for filing that application has been achieved. In other words, that application may be moot by Thursday. For emphasis, the petitioner wanted the review application heard before the hearing of the petition and he has gotten it even before the application for stay of proceedings is heard.
This explains why Frank Davies, one of the spokesmen for the 2nd respondent was angry and throwing harsh at lawyers for the Petitioner. As I have said before, in this game, a strategy is key and the Petitioner’s strategy is working to perfection as planned. For those who are ignorantly ranting and mocking the petitioner for not filing his witness statement, they should know that, by practice, it is trite and settled that where a person seeks the discretion of the court in an application, in this case, application for stay of proceedings and review application, one must not take any other step that defeats or prejudices the determination of that application by the court. If the Petitioner had filed the witness statement pending the hearing of the application for stay of proceedings, the court would have proceeded to start hearing the petition and that would not have fitted in the Petitioner’s plan. And it would have amounted to the petitioner waiving his right.
See you on Thursday
Amorse Blessing Amos
Deputy Greater Accra Regional Youth Organizer-NDC