Defense urges court to strike out elections petition matter

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February 4, 2021

By Ibrahim Kabba Turay

Defense counsel, G.Thomas, for the 3rd and 4th defendants -President  Julius Maada Bio and the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) in the ongoing petition matter at the Supreme Court, has started his oral submission on Tuesday, 2nd February, 2021, before Chief Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards CJ and four other Supreme Court judges.

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  honorable 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,” lawyer Thomas submitted.

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

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

He 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 in line with the originating process prescribed by the Supreme Court rules 1982.

He continued that an election petition in 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.

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

Hs 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.

The cases were heard by the Supreme Court presided over by Justice Nicholas Brown Marke JSC; Eku Roberts JSC and Glena Thompson JSC,who gave directives for both petitions to be consolidated.

The matter was adjourned to 8th February, 2021.