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Dr. Bernadette Lahai v. SLPP

Lead counsel reiterates call for judge to rescind ‘illegal’ injunction

By Patrick J Kamara

Lead defence counsel, Hon. Dr. Bu-Buakei Jabbie, has again called on Justice Abdulai Cham to rescind the interlocutory injunction he had earlier granted to the embattled Minority Leader of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, for want of appropriate jurisdiction and irregularity in the plaintiff’s writ of summon.

The barrister of several years standing was continuing his address to the court on 5 March, after two enforced adjournments due to the non-appearance of the presiding judge.

He told the High Court that the interlocutory injunction the plaintiff sought and was granted was an ex parte notice of motion, the validity of which was limited to seven days. Thus, he submitted that since the orders were made on 16 December 2013, and in view of the festive season, the validity of the application should have expired on 31 December last year, citing section 39(1a) of the Interpretation Act No.8 of 1971, and Order 3 rule 2(2) & 5 of the High Court Rules as authorities.

The lawyer-cum-lawmaker also noted that although the notice of motion filed by counsel representing the plaintiff was entitled “Notice of Motion Ex parte”, and embodied all the features of an ex parte notice of motion, they (SLPP) were not served, contrary to procedure and practice, citing Supreme Court Practice of 1999 volume 1, therefore in violation of procedural obligations on the plaintiff applicant to make ‘full and frank disclosures’ of all the materials served.

Dr Jabbie told the court that they have served the court with adequate and unchallengeable evidence to substantiate that the National Executive Council meeting of the SLPP, held on 29&30 November 2013, where the decision was taken to replace Dr. Lahai as Minority Leader, formed the required quorum, contrary to what the plaintiff had alleged.

The High Court is expected to rule on the legality of an interlocutory injunction obtained by Dr. Benadette Lahai to temporarily prohibit the SLPP from replacing her with Hon. Emma Kowa as Minority Leader, after majority of opposition lawmakers had signed a petition for her to be replaced.

The veteran female lawmaker is regarded by opposition supporters and neutrals to have presided over the weakest opposition in Parliament in the history of the Third Republic, albeit she continues to be feted by ruling party sympathizers.