APC Legal Communications: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 October 2020:
Lawyers representing the APC Members of Parliament that were removed from Parliament immediately after the general elections in 2018, yesterday October 20th 2020, told the Court of Appeal that they have instructions from their clients not to file synopsis or argue the appeal before the Court of Appeal until the Supreme Court hears and determines the applications filed before them regarding the same election petitions.
It could be recalled that before the Election Petition matters were concluded in the High Court, lawyers representing the APC MPs filed a motion in the Supreme Court Under Section 124(1) of the 1991 Constitution to determine whether the High Court can proceed with the Election Petitions after the four months constitutional mandate within which election petitions must be concluded.
Section 78(2) of the constitution provides that the High court has four months starting from the date of the filing Election Petition to hear and dispose of the matter.
The Chief Justice, Babatunde Edwards, never assigned this application for hearing before the Supreme Court. Subsequently, the High Court Judges hearing the Petitions, Justices Kamanda and Stevens, gave judgments in which 10 APC MPs were removed from Parliament.
Lawyers representing the APC MPs appealed the decisions to the Court of Appeal. Section 78(4) of the Constitution again gives the Court of Appeal to hear and determine Appeals relating to election persons within four months from the date the Appeal are filed. Again the four months constitution limit expired with the Court of Appeal hearing and concluding the Appeals. Again Lawyers for the APC MPs filed to the Supreme Court for interpretation of section 78(4) of the constitution and stay of proceeds of the Court of Appeal until the hearing and determination of the Supreme Court applications. Again, the Chief Justice like in many other constitutional matters failed to assign the application for hearing.
Lawyers for the APC MPs filed before the Court of Appeal to stay their proceedings pending the hearing and determination of the applications in the Supreme Court. The motion was argued before the Court of Appeal by Africanus Sorie Sesay Esq. but the Court of Appeal refused the application and gave directions that synopsis are filed and gave a date for hearing of the Appeals.
When the Appeals were called up for hearing yesterday in the Court of Appeal, lawyer representing the APC MPs, Ady Macauley Esq. informed the court that he has had instructions from his clients not to file synopsis or argue the appeal until the Supreme Court hears the three applications on the same petition filed before it more than one and half year ago. The reasons for this decision are thus; lawyer Macauley Esq. added:
1. His clients believe that by rushing through the appeals in the Court of Appeal on the Election Petition while applications on the same issue are pending before the Supreme Court, it will seek to undercut the latter’s authority and exclusive jurisdiction.
2. That the Court of Appeal risks acting in futility because, if the Supreme Court were to agree with the Application filed on behalf of the APC MPs then the judgment of the High Court removing the APCs and all subsequent actions or proceedings will be set aside and the APC MPs returned to Parliament.
In view of the above, lawyer Ady Macauley informed the Court of Appeal that his instructions are not to proceed pending the hearing in the Supreme Court.
Lawyer representing the SLPP MPs, Lawyer Musa Mewa, applied to the Court of Appeal under Rule 24(1) to have the appeals struck off with costs. The Court of Appeal presided over by Justices Sengu Koroma, Ivan Sesay and Tonia Barnett agreed to the application and struck out the Appeals with a cost of Le5,000,000 to each Appellant.
It should be noted that under Rule 25 of the Court of Appeal Rules of 1985, the Appellants can apply to the Court of Appeal to Restore the Appeals.
The APC MPs were represented by Africanus Sorie Sesay, Ady Macauley and Salmata Bah.