Short Commission must grant Ayine’s request – Justice Sai
Private legal practitioner, Justice Srem Sai has backed the decision by counsel of Delali Kwasi Brempong, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate during the Ayawaso West Wougon by-election to cross-examine witnesses who have testified against his client before the Emile Short Commission.
Mr. Brempong’s lawyer, Dominic Ayine during their turn before the Commission requested to cross-examine past witnesses whose testimonies before the commission were directly linked to his client.
Mr. Ayine based his request on Article 282, clause 2 of the constitution saying that “we want to exercise the right to recall some of the commission’s witnesses who have given pieces of evidence before the commission that touches and concerns the evidence of Mr. Brempong Delali.”
But speaking on Eyewitness News on Wednesday, Justice Sai said for the principle of a fair hearing in any legal process, it is only appropriate for the Commission to grant the request.
“There is a long line of legal authority saying that persons should be given a fair hearing. This includes having the opportunity to cross-examine a person who testified against you before a commission of enquiry so that the commission keeps that record to aid its finding. What Dr. Ayine is trying to do is that having testified against his client, it is his right to have those persons crossed examined so that the veracity of the testimonies they gave will be established; so I have no doubt that it goes that way. “
Justice Sai added that the duration of the Commission’s work should not impede the right to a fair hearing.
“It is only fair to persons whom someone has testified against. We should weigh this in terms of time and justice. Whatever it is, justice should weigh heavier on the scale at that time. I don’t think the commission will sacrifice justice on the altar of
Emile Short defers ruling on Ayine’s application to cross-examine past witnesses
The Justice Emile Short Commission however deferred its ruling on the request to cross-examine previous witnesses who appeared before the commission by lawyers of Delali Brempong, the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) parliamentary candidate in the recently held by-election in the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency.
Chairman of the Commission, Justice Emile Short deferred ruling on the request and said the commission will take a decision and will appropriately communicate it to Delali Brempong’s lawyers.
Emile Short argued that the provision did not talk about recalling witnesses; however, Mr. Ayine insisted that having the right to legal representation gives the right to cross-examine a witness who has already given evidence before a commission.
Ayine further challenged Justice Emile’s Short’s position that Mr. Delali’s conduct was not the subject of the commission’s work hence did not warrant the cross-examination request.
He also insisted that Mr. Brempong’s conduct was indirectly linked to the subject of the inquiry since he remains a material witness to the commission’s work.