– Lawyer Banda Thomas
March 2, 2021
By Ibrahim Kabba Turay
Lawyer George Banda Thomas, Senior defense counsel for the second, third and fourth defendant applicants in the current presidential election petition matter, yesterday described Dr.Sylvia Blyden’s afidavit as outrageous, scandalous and obscene, thus pleading with Chief Justice Babatunde Edwards and others to caution the petitioner.
He further told the court that his clients were not happy about what was being said and done in court, adding that Dr. Blyden had announced in an open court, her presidential ambition backed up by an ‘outrageous, scandalous and obscene’ affidavit, which she has even not used in court.
He added that Dr. Blyden accused or made certain assertion directed at the 4th defendant applicant as a party, the presidential candidate for that party in 2012, who is now the president and other prominent personalities, who have made their marks in the law profession.
Banda Thomas also submitted that Dr. Blyden caused a publication in the Awareness Times Newspaper where she used the name of his client, the third defendant applicant under a sensational headline, captioned in a demeaning manner.
“I will be remised in my duty to my clients who have expressed concerns to me about those remarks and I will also be remising if I turned a blind eye to such remarks,” he said
Lawyer Thomas then continued his submission from the amended grounds and then proceeded to the alternative grounds.
“I included ground 1 prayer 1 in assumption that I fail to persuade you on the amended ground prayer 1 and ground 1, then ground 2 and 3, I shall end with amended ground,” he submitted.
He examined the election petitioners’ arguments before the court and submitted that, the statutory rules have been observed and applied by the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court for several years.
He further submitted that the application before the court was for election petition file to be struck off on various grounds including but not limited to rule 6 (1), rule 12 (1) and (2), rule 14 (1) and (2) and rule 13.
He also added that the ruling in John Benjamin’s petition matter was that the petitioners failed to comply with several election petition rules and that the petition was struck out.
He also submitted that those rules are mandatory and not permissive or directory.
He argued that the combine effects of rule 12 and 13 of the election petition rule was to impose a mandatory obligation on the petitioners to serve the petition notice and on time.
“The rule does not give the registrar notice filing to serve and a compliance with rule 14 could only be done by the petitioners and the petitioners should know about compliance,” he submitted.
He said none of the petitioners had complained that they were misled and further disagreed with the petitioners that the court should have ordered a substituted service, thus referring the court to rule 12 (3).
He also said that rule 14 (1) and (2), and rule 6 of the election petition create mandatory obligation and that the case of John Benjamin was struck out on contravention of rule 14 (1) and (2) and rule 6 (1).
He further added that if the petitioners knew their application was not made within a reasonable time, they should have raised a preliminary objection but failed to do so.
He argued that there has been a delay on the side of 3rd and 4th defendant applicant in bringing the application.
He said the current petitions before the court were filed in April 2018, adding that the 2018 application came before the court in the same year and the order of consolidation was granted on the 3rd August.
He added that the application was filed immediately thereafter, noting that the delay in hearing the matter cannot be attributed to the defendant applicants.
He continued that each of the petitions does not set forth the facts and particular documentary or otherwise, upon which each of the petitioners wish to rely.
He added that the affidavits which each of the petitioners filed in support of the petition, were fundamentally flawed.
“The petitioners are in court to challenge the validity of the election of the 3rd defendant applicant as President of Sierra Leone under Section 45 2 of Act No 6 of 1991. Each petitioner should therefore disclose facts and particulars that the election was invalid,” he argued.
He recalled that Dr. Blyden had mentioned previous action with several causes of action, but limited to a particular cause of action.
He further said that lawyer Dumbuya attempted to use Section 7 of the 2012 Public Election Act ,which gives particulars and detail facts the petitioner was relying on in some listed documents and those documents were not before the court in verifying the affidavit.
He concluded that there was no petition before the court with facts and particulars of what the petitioners wanted to rely on, with no verifying affidavit in support of the petition and each of the petitions did not disclose a cause of action.
Matter adjourned to the 2nd March 2021.