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Defence closes oral submission in election petition matter

February 11, 2021

By Ibrahim Kabba Turay

The Defense lawyer representing the President Julius Maada Bio and  the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), George Thomas, has  yesterday closed his oral submission before the Supreme Court in Freetown.  

Earlier in court, he submitted that every originating process invariably sets forth a statement of the nature of the claim and the relief or remedy sought, adding that a petition under Order 9 of the High Court Rules normally includes a concise note of the relief or remedy sought.

He said the characteristic feature of an originating process is that it invariably contains a precise note of the nature of the claim made and or the relief that is being sought, which he said the petition lacked

He further submitted that by not leaving a notice at the registry giving the name of the legal practitioner who is authorized to act as an agent, the petitioners failed to comply with mandatory provision of Rule 6 (1) and therefore asked the court to strike out both petitions on that ground.

Lawyer Thomas urged the Supreme Court judges to strike out the election petition matter on the grounds that it lacks technical grounds of the Supreme Rules of 1918.

“This honourable court should strike out the election petition on the grounds that an election petition is not an appropriate originating process to invoke the original jurisdiction of this court,” he submitted

He said the two petitioners, Dr. Sylvia Blyden and Dr Samura Kamara are challenging the validity of the 3rd defendant applicant as President, and that they are asking the court to determine the validity of the presidential election persona to the election rules of Sierra Leone 

He said Section 125 dealing with validity election petition case be heard and be determined by the Supreme Court as a matter relating to the enforcement by a constitutional provision.

He further submitted that the validity of a presidential election is provided for in Section 45, Subsection 2 of the 1991 Constitution.

He further submitted that the Supreme Court has the power to hear and determine a matter relating to the enforcement of provision of the constitution of Sierra Leone.

He argued that the validity of the presidential election and it original jurisdiction must first be invoked through with the originating process prescribed by the Supreme Court Rule 1982.

He continued that in an election petition such circumstance would be a must in appropriate originating process to invoke the Supreme Court jurisdiction.

 He said the practice sipping to invoke the original jurisdiction of the court by petitioning the court is inappropriate, and submitted that it was wrong for the petitioners to have commenced an originating process invoking the court.

Lawyer Thomas said the petitioners did not state the capacity in which they were petitioning, the address of service of the petitioners or their counsels, the name and address of the parties, who might be affected during the election as  required by Section (89) (2) of the Supreme Court Rule.

He said the documents listed in the petition SC, 7, 20, and 18 to be substantially contain in the said petition, were not exhibited in the affidavit in support persona to Rule 8 of the High Court rule.

It could be recalled that in April 2018, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden and Dr. Samura Kamara separately filed petitions challenging the pronouncement of President Julius Maada Bio as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

But Lawyer Thomas argued that the law makes provision for two distinct and separate securities to be given as part of the originating process and the depositing of Le1million with recognizances entered into by two surties or by deposit of money in lieu of the recognizance.

He concluded that Dr. Blyden,who was the first petitioner, only complied with the payment of the Le1million but neither secured the recognizance of two surties nor did she paid in lieu of the recognizance.

The matter was adjourned to Friday 12th February, 2021, for the petitioner to open their oral submission.

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