Opposing lawyers spar at the Supreme Court
March 6, 2018 By Regina Pratt
Opposing sides in a Supreme Court action aimed at disqualifying All Peoples Congress presidential candidate, Dr. Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara, yesterday sparred at the court.
Lawyer Suliaman Kabba Koroma, defense counsel for Dr. Samura Kamara, noted in his submission that court was not a forum for academic exercise, while Charles Francis Margai, counsel for plaintiff Mohamed Ayoba Joaque, noted that they rely on the court to exercise its inherent powers to grant them extension of time to file a petition against the eligibility of the APC presidential aspirant.
The two legal luminaries presented their respective cases before Chief Justice Abdulai Charm, who was assisted by Justices Eku Robert, Nicholas Browne-Marke, Vivian Solomon and Glena Tolla-Thompson.
Charles Margai had moved an originating motion last Thursday that requested the court to enlarge time in a matter brought by Mohamed Ayoba Joaque against Dr. Samura Kamara and the National Electoral Commission.
But counsel for the 1st defendant, Kabba Koroma, argued against an extension of time to file the petition because it be of no purpose, barely two days to the3 election. He submitted that court lacks authority to grant an enlargement of time, citing section 47(2) of the Public Elections Act of 2012, adding that the section was a mandatory provision, non-discretionary and does not did give the court power to grant an extension of time.
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The defense counsel also averred that the plaintiff had failed to supply sufficient evidence to grant them an enlargement of time, noting that if the court grants extension they would have to extend the election day to another one month.
He therefore urged the court to dismiss the application with substantial cost awarded to the defendant appropriately.
On her part, counsel for the National Electoral Commission , Lawyer B.E.T. Cummings, argued that where the rules are mandatory, they ought to be strictly complied with, noting that election petition matters and those relating to election are different species of proceedings altogether.
She also submitted that the delay in coming to court on the time was a deliberate act, thus requesting the court to refuse the application while also praying for substantial cost.
In his response, Mr. Margai argued that the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to enlarge time where justice demands.
“A petition is not before this court,” he said and added that what was before the court was an originating notice of motion invoking the jurisdiction of the court to enlarge time.
Citing the local case of Kora Sesay and others versus Alie M. Kamara and others, which ruling was delivered by Justice Joko-Smart, he said “There is every right in law for this application to be made pursuant to rule 89.” he submitted and added that it was of grave public importance and should be pursued in the interest of peace and justice.