Lawyer Tejan–Sie prays for injunctive relief
April 6, 2017 By Regina Pratt
Lawyer Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie, counsel for the plaintiff in a civil appeal matter before three Court of Judges – Hon. Justice Reginald Fynn, Hon. Justice Alusine Sesay and Hon. Justice Alan Hallowell – yesterday made an application by way of notice of motion dated 24th March, 2017 for an interim and interlocutory injunction restraining the National Executive Counsel (NEC) of the Sierra Leones Peoples party from organising any meeting.
Mr. Tejan-Sie noted that the application was supported by an affidavit deposed to by Victor Sheriff on 28th March, 2017 plus another supplemental affidavit sworn to on 3rd day of April, 2017.
He submitted that it was for the court to consider whether there was a serious question to try, damages could be adequate compensation and in whose favour the balance of convenience lie, in determining whether or not to grant an injunction.
He submitted that based on the notice before the court, there was a serious question of the law to be tried, referring to exhibits VS-3 – originating summon, VS-4 – copy of the judgment, VS-5 – notice of Appeal in para 3 of VS-5.
“On those grounds established, there are serious issues to be tried for appeal,” he asserted.
Lawyer Tejan-Sie said the appellants were members of the SLPP who were aspiring to vote and be voted for, adding that there were 39 constituencies with parallel list of electors and elected officials.
He submitted that the 39 constituencies have 109 delegates who cannot be voted for during the National Delegates Convention of the SLPP, adding that the party has threatened appellants with expulsion if they do not discontinue the appeal and withdraw the matter from the court.
He noted that if the court did not act in time there would be ‘mass exodus’ from the party.
He said the appellants are of the view that only an injunction would save the situation, citing paragraph 16 of the affidavit of Victor Sherriff.
In his response, Lawyer Umaru Napoleon Koroma, counsel for the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth respondents, submitted that the Court of Appeal lacks jurisdiction to grant an interim and interlocutory injunction against the Chairman and Leader of the SLPP and the other six respondents in the matter.
He said they have filed affidavits in opposition, with exhibits and that they rely entirely on that, adding that the first contention that the Court of Appeal ‘lacks the jurisdiction to hear and determine the present application.’
He stated that Section 124 of Act No 6 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone was clear that only the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone has original jurisdiction in matters relating to the constitution of Sierra Leone.
However, Justice Reginald Fynn reminded Lawyer Koroma that they were only considering an application for an injunction and not hearing an appeal.
In response, Lawyer Koroma cautioned the appellate Judges that any injunction would affect the party adversely as the appellant’s cannot adequately compensate the respondents as they have no losses to suffer.
Lawyer Koroma thus urged the court to refuse to grant the injunction because, according to him, it would be against the spirit of the intended ruling, stating that, “We wholly rely on the decision by the Supreme Court in the Alhaji Sam Sumana case.”
Replying, Lawyer Tejan-Sie argued that whatever decision taken by the court against the appellants would affect them as members of the SLPP.
“In the Sam Sumana case, we were asking that Victor Foh seizes to perform his function as Vice President. In this case, we are not asking anyone not to perform his or her role but asking for an injunction on the meetings, including the convention that is to be held from the 22nd to 25th April,” he said.
The matter was adjourned for ruling