General News of Tuesday, 15 January 2013
A Senior law lecturer at the Ghana School of Law is cautioning against lining up thousands of witnesses in the controversial presidential election petition.
Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang is convinced such a number could create inconsistencies in the accounts of witnesses and that could be problematic.
In an answer to the election petition by Nana Akufo Addo and two others, President John Mahama rubbished all claims of vote rigging and irregularities and he made a firm indication of his intention to call about 4,800 witnesses to prove that the petition by the NPP leaders is without merit and ought to be dismissed by the court.
A member of the NDC legal team Victor Adawudu said the president is bringing all these witnesses in order to send a clear signal to the whole world that he is indeed the winner of the 2012 December elections.
But speaking to Joy News’ Francis Abban, the Ghana law School lecturer said 4,800 witnesses are unprecedented in Ghana’s court history.
Whilst agreeing that there is no cap on the number of witnesses a party may call in a civil case, he was quick to add that the court system has its own way of “weeding out unwanted witnesses”.
He said if a witness comes to court only to repeat what is on record, written or oral, the judge has power to use the "ruling against self serving or narrative evidence" to stop the witness.
He explained further that in the court of law, the quality or credibility of a witness is more important than the quantity of witnesses.
“Even corroboration is not necessary. Therefore it does not matter that you have only one witness. If you have witness who is credible, it is better than thousands of pathological liars who will be lined up and will be affected by lack of credibility and inconsistency which will be fatal to your case," he stated.
He said whoever is considering lining up witnesses must know that the credibility of your story depends on the consistency of the witnesses’ testimony.