October 9, 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Acting Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, Hon. Justice Valesius Victor Thomas, has filed a complaint to the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council against legal luminary Charles Francis Margai.
A letter from the Disciplinary Committee, addressed to Mr. Margai, states that it was in possession of a complaint against the legal practitioner of more than 40 years standing and that “pursuant to section 31(4) of the Legal Practitioners Act of 2000” they would determine whether an inquiry should be held into matter and duly inform the latter.
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The General Legal Council, among other functions, regulates the conduct of lawyers in the country, and may fine or disbar members found in breach of the code of practice.
Mr. Margai was the lead counsel for Chief Alhaji Sam-Sumana, former vice president, who unsuccessfully challenged his sacking by the president in the Supreme Court. As leader and chairman of the PMDC, he also served as lead counsel in a matter brought by his party and the SLPP alleging series of violations of the 1991 Constitution by the president, which was dismissed on grounds that the parties were not “juristic persons”, and that they cannot sue in their own name.
Speaking at his Rawdon Street Chamber yesterday, Mr. Margai recalled that a couple of weeks ago he had granted an interview to Culture Radio in respect of the Supreme Court ruling in the joint matter of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party and the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change, noting that he had indicated he would hire a private investigator to investigate and charge the five Supreme Court judges to the International Criminal Court.
He told reporters that he subsequently received a letter and other documents from the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council that the Acting Chief Justice had lodged a complaint against him.
Justice Thomas alleged that in the interview on Culture Radio, Mr. Margai had alleged, whether by innuendo or otherwise, that the five Supreme Court Justices were bribed by President Ernest Bai Koroma to reach their decision, and that he threatened the judges with arrest and prosecution at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
Justice Thomas is quoted by the General Legal Council to have said that the “scandalous remarks were made by Charles Francis Margai in the said interview with the intention of damaging his reputation as Acting Chief Justice, as there is absolutely no truth in his said allegations (whether by innuendo or otherwise) that he was influenced in any way in coming to the decision he arrived at in the said action.”
Meanwhile, the fearless legal luminary has stated his intention to adequately respond to the complaint as and when the Committee notifies him to attend their hearing.