The long awaited suspense in the minds of supporters of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) belonging to Amb. Allie Bangura’s camp and those of the present Chairman of the Party, Chief Somano Kapen, was yesterday cleared when the Supreme Court ruled that the petition case should continue and that the Respondent Applicant (SLPP) should pay the sum of three million Leones (Le3m) to the Plaintiff.
Justice Valesius Thomas chaired the three-member panel of Supreme Court judges, which also included Justice Adeliza Showers and Justice Patrick Hamilton.
Counsels representing the Plaintiff Applicant, Allie Bangura were M.L. Tarawally, O. Jalloh and A.S. Marrah while Counsels Eke Halloway, Dr. Bu-Buakie Jabbie, Anthony Y. Brewah and U. Koroma represented the Respondent Chief Somano Kapen and seven others.
Delivering the ruling, Justice Valesius Thomas said, on the issue raised by Counsel Jabbie that the Plaintiff failed to follow the rules available for filing and serving of the Original Notice of Motion, the Court holds that the Plaintiff complied with the appropriate rules of filing in relation to the manner and time of service laid down in the Supreme Court Rules 89. He explained that Rule 98 is only applicable when there are no provisions applicable in the Supreme Court Rules then the High Court Rules can be applied.
The Judge disclosed that the cases cited by Dr. Jabbie are not applicable in any provision for the court to strike out the Originating Notice of Motion filled by the Plaintiff Applicant. He added that there is no need to invoke the High Court Rules where there are provisions in the Supreme Court Rules.
Justice Valesius Thomas further ruled that it is the view of the Court that the Plaintiff Applicant followed the necessary steps in filling and serving the Original Notice of Motion and as a result, the Preliminary objection raised by the Respondent is struck out and the matter should proceed.
The Judge then ordered that the Respondent Defendants (Somano Kapen and others) should file their defence within ten (10) days from the day of the ruling and to also pay a cost of three million Leones (Le3m) to the Plaintiff Applicant.
Base on the above, Counsel O. Jalloh representing the Plaintiff Applicant expressed thanks and appreciation to the Judges for their ruling.
Dr. Bu-Buakie Jabbie, representing the Defendant Applicants, stated that they appreciate the ruling of the Court, except the issue of cost that was levied against them considering the fact that the matter is a family one in nature as some of their brothers decided to take other members of the family to court. He pleaded for the cost to be in the form of a minimal amount or cost in the cause.
In response to that, Counsel O. Jalloh stated that it is most insulting to the Court not to say the Applicant Counsels for the amount to be reduced considering the nature of the work as three million Leones (Le3m) is a very small amount to be paid as cost in the Supreme Court.
Justice Valesius Thomas ruled that it is the order of the Court for the Respondent Defendants to pay the sum of Le 3m which is very minimal, and nothing will be reduced from it.
Dr. Jabbie after the Court had been adjourned, called the party supporters to one side of the court where he briefed them about the ruling and admonished them to keep the peace and respect the ruling of the court as they will file their defence in ten days time. He noted that they should have done that long before, but due to their preliminary objections, the court decided to extend the time for them.
Amb. Allie Bangura on the other side was seen hugging his Lawyers after the ruling, which he was patiently listening to with the Minority Leader of Parliament Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai sitting by his side.