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Supreme Court Ruling Applauded

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Supreme Court Ruling Applauded

By Jane B. Mansaray

The matter against the Attorney General and Minster of Justice, the Chairman National Electoral Commission and the Speaker of Parliament was yesterday struck out of court by the five Supreme Court Justices chaired by the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, Justice Abdulai Hamid Charm.

The ruling of the five Judges came about after both respondents and plaintiffs’ counsels had made their submissions and applications based on the notices of motion served and dated in May 2017 for hearing.

In her application based on the documents filed by the plaintiffs before the supreme Court Judges, the second respondent applicant (NEC) Lawyer, Glenna Thomson first asked the question as to “what exactly the plaintiff wanted the court to do with such a matter that was not properly before the court for hearing”? She said in the plaintiff affidavit there were so many typographical errors with regards to names listed in the affidavit filed in.

Counsel furthered that, as far as Section 91 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone and the parliamentary standing order are concerned, no Court is required to know what Parliament does as they regulate themselves and they are empowered to make, amend and evoke laws.

She therefore submitted that as far as the matter was concerned, the Court lacks the jurisdiction to declare anything done by Parliament null and void but to obey.

Such decision by the plaintiffs, according to counsel’s submissions must be struck out as it is not properly before the court.

She further submitted that Section 38 of the 1991 constitution does not make any case for interpretation and at the same time has no legal authority or support or interpret the said section.

In support of her submissions, Lawyer Thomson made reference to Dr. Sama Banya, Dr. Prince Harding Vs the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) Supreme Court Judgments 2005 and relied on Section 94 of sub-section 2 of the 1991 constitution.

In his reply to counsel’s submissions, Lawyer Ibrahim Sorie Koroma who also doubles as one of the plaintiffs in the matter said he relied on the entirety of his affidavit sworn to on the 12th June 2017, Rule 98 and 103 of the High Court Rules.

He submitted that the reasons of compliance should not be enough reason for striking out their case.

Plaintiff Counsel went on to submit that it would be unfair to construe section 94 sub-section 2 alone in relation to the matter in court, as section 124 sub-section1 gave the court the jurisdictions to interpret the national constitution of Sierra Leone.

He said the interpretation of section 38 sub-section 5 creates an injustice and at the same time it is not proper for counsel on the other side to raise a preliminary objection to the matter.

After the legal submissions by counsels, the Chief Justice Abdulai Hamid Charm in reading the ruling  in support of the other Judges said that in coordinating the notice of motion dated 3th May 2017 the matter is struck out but the plaintiffs could come back if they so wish.

It will be recalled in June 2017 the respondents, including the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Mohamed Nfa Alie Conteh, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mr. Joseph F. Kamara and the Honorable Speaker of Parliament, Hon. S.B.B. Dumbuya were brought before the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone for misinterpreting Section 38 sub-section 5 of Act No.6 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.

This was brought to the notice of the Court by the plaintiffs’ Lawyer, Ibrahim Sorie Koroma, Ibrahim Nfa Alie Kabba and Sidique Kanu for a legal action against the above mentioned public officials, asking the Supreme Court to interpret the said section relating to the process of dealing with boundary delimitations of constituencies and re-distribution of the various areas marked by government as new districts.

During the first hearing of the matter, the plaintiffs sought an injunction limiting the activities of voter and civic registration until after the hearing and determination of the case.

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