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In Sam-Sumana petition:

Defence application rejected!

June 2, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone yesterday rejected an application by counsel for the first defendant, Berthan Macauley Jr., to set aside an order the court had granted to him to amend counter motions he had earlier filed.

Mr. Macauley, who represents Attorney-General and Minster of Justice, Franklyn Bai Kargbo in the constitutional matter, had on 28 May sought and got the right to amend his papers but bizarrely requested the court to set the motion to amend aside because it was “a nullity” with “procedural irregularities”.

However, the court yesterday implored both sides to amend their respectively cases, ahead of the next adjournment.

While reading the ruling, with the leave of acting Chief Justice Valisius Thomas, and Justices Eku Roberts, Vivian Solomon and Patrick Hamilton, Justice Nicholas Browne-Marke said they had looked into the application of counsel for the first defendant for the court to set aside an order it had granted his team on 14 May, 2015 to amend the statement of the first defendant.

He noted, however, that counsel Macauley had applied for an order from the court to do an amendment to the said statement, while counsel for the plaintiff had also sought leave to file an amendment to his papers, which was granted by the court by way of Exhibit LL4.

Justice Brown-Marke said that the quintet of judges have looked into the submission of the defence counsel, but would not grant him his wish, and in the interest of justice grant both sides leave to amend their papers, even though counsel for the plaintiff had indicated no intent to amend his papers, and serve each party within four days.

During the last hearing, counsel for the plaintiff, James Blyden Jenkins-Johnston had observed that, “My Lords, I submit that counsel for the defendant did not show any error to this court and my Lords we do not intend to, and we will not amend our case. What we are before the court for is simple and our case is, if the President has the right to remove the Vice President from his office and if it is in law that the ‘supreme executive power’ gives the President the right to sack his vice. That is our case my Lords.”

Since the case, which has generated much public attention within and outside the country, was filed at the Supreme Court on 20 March, 2015 the substantive issue of whether the president had legal basis to sack the elected vice president is yet to be argued in court.

What the court has been preoccupied with is an interim injunction restraining the appointed vice president from performing his duties, which was rejected by all the five judges. They have promised to speedily hear and determine the case.

Meanwhile, the acting Chief Justice announced in court that the case should finally get off the ground Thursday, 10 June, almost three months when lawyers for the sacked vice president filed their papers at the registry of the apex court.