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General News of Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Source: Daily Guide

Supreme Court hears NDC joinder to NPP petition today

Barring any last-minute hitch, the much-awaited hearing of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) motion to join a petition challenging the results of the December 7, 2012 presidential election will commence at the Supreme Court in Accra today, January 16,2013.

The motion, which had originally been billed to be moved by the NDC's legal team on Thursday, January 10, 2013, had to be adjourned sine die because lawyers for the petitioners had objected to the composition of the panel.

But the objection was withdrawn barely 24 hours after it had been raised in camera by one of the lawyers for the petitioners, Mr Philip Addison.

Following the withdrawal of the objection, the registrar of the Supreme Court, on Monday, January 14, 2013, served hearing notices on lawyers for the parties in the case.

A date for the hearing of the substantive petition will be fixed after the court has heard and determined whether or not to allow the NDC to join in its capacity as a political party.

Unlike in the past when the Supreme Court was opened to the public, attendance at today's proceedings will be strictly by invitation and under very heavy security.

There will be a large number of security personnel to maintain law and order right from the streets through to the Supreme Court compound and the inner perimeter of the court building.

Scanners will be placed at the lower and upper floors of the Supreme Court. People will be thoroughly searched, while cellular phones and other electronic gadgets will not be allowed to be used inside the courtroom.

Only accredited journalists, lawyers, party functionaries and members of the public will be allowed entry into the courtroom.

A former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ms Gloria Akuffo, is leading the legal team for the petitioners, while Mr Tony Lithur and Mr Tsatsu Tsikata are leading a number of lawyers to make a case for the President and the NDC, respectively.

The EC will be represented by Mr James Quashie-Idun, its lead counsel.

A nine-member panel, presided over by Mr Justice William Atuguba, with Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, Mr P. Baffoe- Bonnie, Mr Justice N. S. Gbadegbe and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo, as panel members, is expected to hear the motion on whether or not the NDC should be allowed to join the petition.

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