From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

As Hon. Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbi Esq. Begs for Time, SLPP Haunted by April 2002 Ruling April 2002 Ruling of Supreme Court
By Our Correspondents
Apr 19, 2013, 17:16

Thursday April 18th 2013 was the second day of hearing of the petition brought by the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) against the November 17th 2012 elections landslide win of President Koroma. It was a day of ironies when an eleven years old obscure judgment of April 29th 2002 in favour of SLPP and former President Kabbah by the Supreme Court, became center-piece  repeatedly cited by ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party lawyers against the current position of the same SLPP at the same Supreme Court.


Supreme Court records examined by this paper show that on 11th April 2002, the candidacy of former President Kabbah to contest for the Presidency as the SLPPs presidential candidate for those May 2002 elections, was challenged by one Daniel Sankoh. The records show the Supreme Court threw out Sankohs objection against Kabbah. The SLPPs lawyers had claimed back then that plaintiff, Daniel Sankoh, who was known to be an APC supporter, had filed his objection too late; outside of 7 days specified time.


Hon. Justice Virginia Wright who is also sitting on this current matter, had back then cited a case law to which she had written, I entirely agree with the decision and I adopt it.


The decision she and the other Sierra Leonean Supreme Court judges had agreed with was that of Justice Bamford-Addo (J.S.C.) of the Ghanaian Supreme Court who had said as follows:-


Many a time litigants and their Counsels have taken the rules of procedure lightly and ignored them altogether as if those rules were made in vain and without purpose. Rules of procedure setting time limits are important for the administration of Justice.


Justice Virginia Wright and her colleagues including late Justices Sydney Warne and M. O. Adophy had furthermore cited the 1971 Interpretative Act as to how days are to be counted in procedures requiring time limits. That was all back in 2002, eleven years ago and Justice Wrights arguments in their favour, had sweetened the ears of SLPP and Tejan Kabbah.


In this current 2013 case, the APC legal team yesterday found much pleasure in making its arguments by citing the old 2002 case in favour of the SLPP. According to APC lawyers, when such interpretation is applied to this case, clearly SLPP is guilty of filing out of the time period and their matter should be thrown out as it was procedurally filed outside of the seven days time limit. This is the same way in which Daniel Sankohs case against the SLPP and Tejan Kabbah, was thrown out for lack of following procedures.


At the end of the submissions of Berthan Macauley Jr. against the SLPPs current petition, the legal team of the SLPP led by Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbie Esq, in a very low tone of voice and in a clearly downcast mood, begged the Supreme Court for more time to go back and read their books so as to know how to answer to the solid arguments brought forward by Berthan Macauley Esq.

The Hon. Chief Justice was again magnanimous with the SLPP lawyers and she gave them as much time as they wanted to go back and study their law books. So the matter has now been adjourned to next week Tuesday April 23rd 2013 when the SLPP will be expected to try to find a way out of the current positions expressed especially those cited from the old 2002 matter of Daniel Sankoh versus Tejan Kabbah which has been copiously cited.


Earlier, lawyer representing the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Glenna Thompson also submitted that SLPP petition be thrown out of court because according to her, the petition team failed to comply with certain rules of Public Elections Act of 2012.Thompson further argued that the SLPP failed to comply with some mandatory procedures like requirements for security payment which is in contravention of Rule 14.(1) of Public Elections Act.Prior to submissions made by the lawyers, Hon. Chief Justice and her Supreme Court Judges had ruled that the preliminary objection earlier raised by Lawyer Jabbi that Lawyer Macauley has no locus standi to represent his clients in the matter under review, is not sustained.

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