Appeals court judges reject State’s attempt to derail Palo Conteh’s case

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 02 December 2020:

Sierra Leone Judiciary’s Appeals Court yesterday Tuesday, rejected an attempt by the State Prosecutor to derail former minister of defence – Retired Major Palo Conteh’s appeal hearing.

According to report by Awareness Times, the legal manoeuvre by the State had sought to throw out the appeals filed by Conteh’s defense lawyers.

The Judges firmly rejected the application by State Prosecutor J.A.K. Sesay which had sought to capitalise on what the State presented as a seeming oversight of the defense lawyers in not seeking a certain approval of the courts before filing Appeals of the kind which they filed for Palo Conteh.

However, the Judges said not only did the State Prosecutor fail to realise amendments had been made to one of the Laws cited but also the Judges were displeased that the State Prosecutor delayed to raise the said objections at an earlier stage. They described the timing of the objection as a legal ambush attempt.

The Judges who spoke in turns, clearly told the State Prosecutor that the proceedings had already passed the point where such an application could be entertained.

The judges pointed out that the section of the Appeals Court Rules that the State should have used to make the objection was Rule 40 but it was not the one used by the State.

The Presiding Judge, Honourable Ansumana Ivan Sesay JA, then ordered for the Appeal of Palo Conteh to now proceed without hindrance from the State.

The matter was adjourned to December 15th, 2020 for the Appeal arguments to be heard. However, a fresh Bail application for Palo Conteh by his defense lawyers was refused by the Court.

Palo Conteh was taken back to his detention cell in Freetown. It can be recalled that Conteh is serving a 24-month sentence for gun possession crimes. He is appealing both the sentence and the convictions.

In another development, at about 17:09GMT today December 2nd 2020, an official of Supreme Court of Sierra Leone Judiciary named Mr. Jefferson, delivered a Court Notice at the Office of Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden OOR.

The Notice is to inform Dr. Blyden that hearing of the Elections Petition she had filed against the election of President Julius Maada Bio, will be coming up tomorrow December 3rd 2020 at 10:30GMT. This is a Notice of less than 24 Hours.

Responding to this late notice, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that she has been invited by APC Western Area Regional Executive to be Guest Speaker at tomorrow’s Campaign meeting of Kadie Davies who is contesting the forthcoming election in the Hamilton Constituency 110.

Blyden said she will now cancel or delay her campaign appearance in Constituency 110 in order to be at the Supreme Court for the hearing of the Petition she filed in April 2018.

Dr. Blyden’s Petition was filed on April 9th 2018, and it was filed against the pronouncement that the SLPP’s presidential candidate, Julius Maada Bio, was duly elected as President of Sierra Leone on 4th April 2018.

According to Sylvia Blyden’s Petition, she wants the Supreme Court to declare that the SLPP’s candidate, Julius Maada Bio was not duly elected as President of Sierra Leone.

Dr. Blyden wants the Supreme Court to make an Order cancelling the pronouncement of President Bio as President of Sierra Leone.

Dr. Sylvia Blyden wants the Supreme Court to make an Order for whosoever is Speaker of Parliament to act as President for a period of 90 Days from such Order and for  fresh presidential elections to be conducted for the People of Sierra Leone within that 90 days.

9 Comments

  1. I personally believe that Paola Conteh and his family should be counting their blessings, because throughout the history of our nation, the APC government has never lost a treason trial. When late President Stevens made up his mind that he wanted to get rid of most of the Temne leaders from Tonkolili district (Mohamed Sorie Fornah and 14 other), because they opposed his corrupt and violent dictatorial ideology, he made sure that his dream was accomplished. When late President Momoh framed his Vice President F.M.Minah through the help of his Attorney General Dr. Abdulai O. Conteh (who later was rewarded with the position as Vice President)because he felt insecure, he made sure he accomplished his goal.

    Under the New Direction government, President Bio promised to strengthen our institutions by guaranteeing their independence. That is the only reason why Paola Conteh is now serving 2 years in prison for taking a loaded gun to have a meeting with the president of the opposition party. President Bio’s primary focus is to improve the lives of our citizens that voted him to Statehouse and not Paola Conteh, who is in jail serving his sentence and is now in the appeal process. So let us continue to follow the judicial process instead of making unfounded allegations.

    The reality is according to the latest MCC score, our judiciary system has made tremendous progress in 2 years, so let us continue to celebrate that positive development.

  2. Jesus had left Sierra Leone long time ago and the only people who may have the power to bring him back are the young generation. I have lived in the U.S for over 20 years, hoping that my home country sweet Sierra Leone leaders would wake up with their senses to better our country, instead they are busy pocketing our money and resources and leaves everybody to struggle for themselves. That stupid President calling himself Bio, is the most dangerous and corrupt creature ever to hold that office. That SLPP terrorist our country ever experienced. All the wars we have experienced comes directly from him. Trust me I was born in Makeni, but grew up in the Mende area like Kenema, Bo, Bama Konta, so I know the people very well. They love to be in power and never want to give anyone a chance. Another fact that we all should pay a close attention to, is that the British would always support the SLPP, because they knew by doing so, our country would never prosper like other countries such as Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali.

  3. A former Chief Justice of the supreme court, Justice Dr. Abdulai Babagaleh Timbo, appearing on the TRC interview, was asked the question by Commissioner Sylvanus Torto, why presiding Magistrates and Judges are “not treating cases with the utmost urgency they deserve?” Justice Timbo intimated to the commission that, his rule during his tenure in the court was, no judge should adjourne a case beyond two weeks. Before the rule of two weeks, the Justice went on to say, there was earlier a limit of three months. Although the Lord Chief Justice explained certain constraints of the courts, to the commissioners and understandably so, are partly blameworthy for the delay and adjournment of cases, such like, staffing issues, shortage of judges, lack of resources and the caseload of lawyers, having ten cases to answer on the same day, in ten courts. But, he was also quite explicit that, these constraints cannot justify, any case to take up to a year in court.

    That said, consider the timeline of Sylvia Blyden’s election petitions filed on the 9th of April, in 2018, seeking an urgent ruling from the Supreme Court, against the SLPP presidential candidate, Maada Bio’s victory, including the decision of the Electoral Commission declaring him the winner. This petition is only now coming to be heard. Is it not a “legal ambush” by the Supreme Court against Sylvia, according to the Appeals court’s standard adopted in the Paolo case? Because the Court is only now calling on Sylvia’s case to be heard on December 3, 2020? If the State Prosecutors would be prevented from pursing an application in court, on the basis that their application not filed on time was a legal ambush. Is it not relative when the Supreme Court refusing to hear petition cases filed since 2018 presidential elections, but wanting to hear them in the end of 2020? Is it not the same delay of cases Commissioner Torto was referring to the Chief Justice, coming from the courts? You bet.

  4. And who is it among you millions languishing in abject humiliating poverty in our beloved Sierra Leone that still believes that these rag tag bunch of criminals now in power are capable of ushering sustainable progress, out of the depths of despair and incompetence for the benefit and wellbeing of our people? Gentlemen – a rogue government is authoritarian in its form, it severely restricts human rights and it frowns and tramples with utter disgust on the rule of law. The criminal SLPP is one such government – a hopeless, bootless entity that is solely responsible for the demoralization of our people. I have always maintained that these clumsy individuals have no business holding any kinds of public office – they are unfit; all of them in their actions as washed-out as old garments and dull as old overused razors.

    Instead of strengthening institutions, they are tearing them down through corrupt attitudes and blatant abuse of power. See – they treat opponents as sworn enemies deserving no empathy and consideration from their despicable hands – impious villains that’s who they really are. Paolo Conteh hang in there buddy, a new day is on its way; they may rule the darkness with ceaseless lies but the glorious shining light of truth belongs to us. Keep ya head up! (VIVA SIERRA lEONE)

  5. Retired Major Paolo Conteh the great, is serving a jail sentence for 24 months for what I believe was a norm and not a crime. Nonsense! This so-called Bio kakistocracy autocratic den are just afraid of Retired Major Paolo Conteh the great, because of his political influence not only in Sierra Leone, but in the world in general. I hope they take great care of his health and well-being in that confinement. God bless Retired Major Paolo Conteh the great. We pray to the Almighty God that you will be free from the dictators den as soon as possible. Amen and Amen. Father God. Yeah.

  6. Yeah. The SLPP party has faded into obscurity. SAD. Bottom line, you don’t give any dictator a second term to solidify his mischief. Strong institutions are the only way out. Not strong men. See what is happening in the beacon of Democracy today. They did everything to stretch the limits of the institutions and democracy. But the democratic institutions not only passed the tests, but resisted. The path to autocracy was booted out with overwhelming disgrace and humiliation. I was right to advise them to pack their suitcases cases and go home. God help protect our institutions and democracy. Again, from KONO CITY to State House will be like, from Delaware to the White House. Amen and Amen.

  7. It’s good to hear the supreme court of Sierra leone is finally taking on the bully-boy tactics of the state prosecutors. From the outset, we knew the trajectory this case is taking, is to satisfy the ego of one man and that is the commander in chief of all things gone wrong in Sierra leone, Bio himself. So it goes without saying, they will do everything to keep him in prison. A case built on a lie, and given a life of its own by incompetent state prosecutors. Even an A-level student aspiring to study law, will put them to shame on how much they know about the laws of Sierra leone they are meant to enforce. Which makes the independence of the supreme court all the more urgent.

    As the final arbiter of the laws of the country, by virtue of the powers given to it by the constitution, by looking into, and quashing any cases, or rulings made by the lower courts that is brought in front of the learned judges, whether is civil, criminal, or constitutional cases. It is important we take stock of why the Supreme Court rulings are so important, and the effect they have on our every day lives. If we take the case of Rt. Major Paolo Conteh, he should use his constitutional right to challenge his continued detention by a government that is pretty much bent on revenge politics. A part from his five o’clock shadow, the only future politician that Bio is scared of. If this should be treated with a big dose of caution, Dr. Bylden succeed in her petition, that will be the icing on the cake.

    Bio, will then be forced to face the people of Sierra leone again in the ballot box. The promises he made the last time will finally come under scrutiny. Then at least people will able to make up their minds about whether he has lived up to their expectations. I think the jury is still out on that one. The day of reckoning is finally here with us.

Tell us about your views

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.