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Petition against APC MPs: NEC lawyer begs for matter to be dismissed

May 13, 2019

By Regina Pratt

For Lawyer Ducil Taylor, who is representing the Chief Electoral Commissioner, National Electoral Commission and the Regional Electoral Commissioner in the ongoing petition matter at the High Court, has submitted that the court dismisses the petitions on the basis that the petitioners did not activate the mechanism to object against the nominations of Members of Parliament by objecting first to the Returning Officer.

He stated that the jurisprudent for the nullification of election result is settled around the world, adding that with all the claimed intimidations, the petitioners voted freely and prayed that the petitions be struck out.

Lawyer Drucil E. Taylor stated that he relied on the position of law and not facts of proceedings and in consideration submitted that the content of affidavits making allegations of intimidation did not in any way impeach the integrity of the electioneering process.

Meanwhile,Justice Momoh M.Stevens, who is presiding over the said petition matter involving some opposition All People’s Congress (APC) Members of Parliament  has on Wednesday reminded Counsels from both sides  that his judgement would not be determined by outside forces and that it would be done without fear or favour.

He was addressing counsels during sittings on the election petition cases of Thomas A. Stevens versus Isaac Tarawally of Constituency 118, Fatmata S. Soukenoh versus Emmanuel Saidu Conteh of Constituency of 129 and Saidu Saccoh versus Wurroh Timbo Jalloh of Constituency 119.

He reiterated that ‘when the judgement is out, you will know that it is my judgement and not influenced by anybody.’

Lawyer J.J. Campbell had filed in an affidavit in support of Thomas Aaron Koroma dated 15th April, 2018, against respondent Isaac Tarawally for various election malpractices.

Also, Lawyer J.K. Lansana had filed in affidavits in support of Fatmata S. Soukenoh versus Emmanuel Saidu Conteh of Constituency 129 and Sahid Soccoh versus Wurroh Timbo Jalloh of Constituency 119.

Lawyer Lansana submitted that they relied on the entirety of the affidavits and the various exhibits attached thereto, claiming that the election was marred with intimidation and harassment, thus calling for it annulment.

But Counsel for the respondents, Lawyer Brima Koroma, noted that he relied on Order 31, Rule 4 of the High Court rules of 2007, and that the papers of the affidavits were not numbered.

He argued that as far as election petition were concerned, filing a petition does not amount to taking away ones rights to object to the use of an  affidavit, adding that the affidavit in support before the judge was one that was clearly objectable.

Lawyer Koroma further argued that election offences should not be tried in that court as there was an election offences court.

The election petition hearings continued on Friday for six persons including S.O.B. Davies versus Haja Miatta Marah, Emmanuel Gbekie versus Harriatu A. Bangura, Alhassan Cole versus Osman Jalloh, Idris Sahid Kamara versus R. Kanu, Tennison Hindolo Sandy versus Momoh Kamara and Foday Sadike Kallon versus Roland Foday Kargbo.

Presenting their case, counsel for the petitioners, Lawyer J.J. Campbell, said  they filed petition against the respondents hearing for the nullification of the election conducted by the 1st respondents, stating that they relied on the affidavits in support of the petitioners with all exhibits attached hereto, thus praying  for the nullification of all the respondents.

Lawyer Ady Macauley  representing Haja Miatta Marah argued   that in one of the exhibits presented by the petitioner, there was no endorsement that he visited a medical practitioner.

He submitted that the petition failed in all forms on the grounds that the petitioners did not fulfilled all the allegations.

He argued that the petitioner did not object to the time provided for, stating that the court lacks jurisdiction to interpret Section 76 (1) (b) of the 1991 Constitution and Section 57 of the Public Elections Act 2012.

 He said the matter should be referred for a stay of proceedings for reference to the Supreme Court, but his submission was overruled by the Judge.