Feature Article of Wednesday, 22 May 2013
Columnist: Asabre, Alex
...after his cross-examination
By: Mr Alex Asabre
I would like to humbly comment on the conduct of Tastsu Tsikata, counsel for the NDC, 3rd respondent in the on-going election petition. As a politician of international repute, who had borne witness to numerous court proceedings around the world, I see lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata’s behaviour as very rude, insolent and a total deviation from acceptable judicial standards. The impolite manner he rebuked his fellow counsel, Lawyer Phillip Addison, to ‘shut up’ needs absolute condemnation. If this conduct was exhibited in the Great Britain, where I domiciled for five decades, Tastsu Tsikata would have been penalized and rather rebuked to put up a good behaviour by the British Bar Association.
This behaviour would not be tolerated by The Master of Roll, Sir Lord Dennis Stevenson Baron Stevenson of Coddenham of Britain, and I expected the same from the Judges, although I am not against their judgment. I am not a lawyer by profession, but I think he should have been made to render a humble apology to Phillip Addison personally. This silence has invariably compelled Phillip Addison to flex muscle with Tsatsu Tsikata as he has not given him any friendly room to operate after that incident. If this behaviour is not scorned upon as a matter of urgency, it would not augur well for the adjudication of the petition.
I am imploring the Ghana Bar Association, the Judicial Council and other groups in the legal society to condemn the conduct of Tsatsu Tsikata.
Before Tsatsu Tsikata’s cross-examination of the star witness of the petitioners, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia, he was touted as one of the revered legal brains who wielded much power and commanded some respect in the law fraternity. Again, before his cross-examination, the impression given to many was that, he was humble, tolerant, and cool and collected.
As someone who challenged the constitutionality of the creation of the Fast Track High courts and won until a review was done, he held a strong command as far as law is concerned. However, in his work as the lead counsel for the third respondent in the election petition case, Tsatsu Tsikata has been exposed as very intolerant, intemperate and dictatorial.
He has in fact failed to live up to the bill of his hype. Most of the people had thought before his cross-examination that, he was going to tear the petitioners’ evidence into strips but the more he wastes his time to ask questions, the stronger the petitioners’ evidence becomes.
I am not so much perturbed about the number of days he is going to spend in his cross-examination, after all it is not the number of days spent that matters but the salient questions asked is the factor here. He has repeatedly asked similar questions which have failed to expose Dr Mahamadu Bawumia of anything. He has turned around to ask the same questions the Judges have overruled in the petitioners’ favour, making the whole process boring during his turn and his attempts to bully the star witness to lose his demeanor would come to no fruition. I do not know how Tsatsu Tsikata would have felt if his counsel in his criminal charges against the state during the J.A. Kufour’s regime, Prof. E.V.O. Danquah, who was a dean of faculty of Law at Legon then, had complained of any misconduct by the State Attorney. I believe Tsatsu Tsikata is very conversant with the ethics of the legal profession, and he must accordingly behave.
And talking of his court case of causing financial court to state, he chanted threats of doing everything possible to ensure that he was exonerated from any criminal charges after his pardon but no one knows when he is going to initiate that trial. For the sake of our young generation who do not know Tsatsu Tsikata, he has been a thorn in the flesh of Ghanaians for the past four decade in our politics. He was a leading member of the AFRC/PDNC. He had been a legal representative of the Rawlingses and the true architect of the formulation of the draconian laws which saw arbitrary incarceration of innocent Ghanaians during the military era. There were hundreds of both civilians and military officers, who strangely got lost during the era, and they have still not accounted for by Rawlings and his cohorts like Tsatsu Tsikata.
The entrenched parts of the constitution are believed to have been necessitated by him, aimed to protect Rawlings even after his tenure. This is the man in court participating in the rule of law; the man who never advised Rawlings to practice democracy in the first eleven years as head of state.
Some of us are still astounded as to what legal chambers he is operating from as a lawyer. It is of no wonder therefore that, some individuals are challenging the authenticity of his practicing legal license as it has emerged in the electronic media. I do not want to comment on the outcome of the court since I do not want to cut any slur on anybody’s image. But I would like to commend the lead counsel of the petitioners, Lawyer Phillip Addison, for showing courage and maturity so far in court. After all, the whole trial boils down to intellectual dispensation and which side the pendulum of guilt will tilt to at the end of the day goes down to beautify our democracy. As for Tsatsu Tsikata, he would gradually but surely be exposed of his own character at the end of the trial.