By Titus Boye-Thompson
The summation of Justice Adrian Fisher at High Court No 1 yesterday Wednesday 4th August 2021 tend to indicate that the application by the All Peoples Congress for an extension of time deposed by the party’s National Secretary General will be granted albeit with some very strict guiding rules for compliance.
The application of the All Peoples Congress was supported by affidavit deposed by the Party’s National Secretary General Ambassador Alhaji Osman Foday Yansanneh who is also the second defendant on the substantive matter to which an interlocutory injunction was previously granted to Alfred Peter Conteh, the plaintiff who seeks a declaration on the status of the executive of the Party and in other matters of its democratic practices, constitutionality and membership issues. The said affidavit was deposed on 27th July 2021. The application for an extension of time relates to the ruling by Judge Adrian Fisher issued in June, stating a period within which the Party should undertake lower level elections and then proceed to adopt a draft Constitution at a National Delegates Conference called specifically for that event.
The learned Judge expressed a firm stance that if he were minded to grant this application, he will not broach any contravention of its terms nor countenance noncompliance, otherwise he will fall down heavily on the parties to the matter on both sides who are responsible for any breach.
In a terse remark to counsels on the matter, Justice Fisher admonished full compliance and a strict adherence to his rulings. He stressed that he would look to see this matter presided on with candour.
In his statements, the learned Judge made several legal statements that bears on the legitimacy of the litigants, to wit the National Secretary General and the present executive of the All Peoples Congress. He stated categorically that Ambassador Yansanneh stands before him on this matter as the substantive National Secretary General and has full legal authority to act in thst capacity. This confirmation of the legal status of the NSG and by extension, the entire executive was triggered during cross examination of the NSG by Lawyer Jengi for the Plaintiff and the clarification was made by the judge as he guided the NSG to respond to a question as to whether he occupies the position of National Secretary General of the APC in the affirmative.
In the event, reporting by tabloid papers such as the Standard Times and other cat calls from opponents of the NSG that tag him as an “expired” NSG are no longer tenable and in fact should desist otherwise such would be deemed as defamatory language.
Justice Fisher also made it plain that the APC’s NSG cannot be held responsible for the limiting of the membership of the Convention Committee. This has been restricted to no more than 21 persons. His paraphrased words were, “tell them this is a court order, you cannot please everybody, the list will be restricted to the persons before me and on a proportionality basis.”
In the event, the Judge has confirmed that he will make. Directions on how the membership of the 19 man Committee would be constituted and no doubt still allow for extra two persons to bring the final list to 21.
Justice Fisher also raised his concerns over the publications of the Plaintiff and his legal team on social media. He stated that he considers “social media distractive,” so on a point of principle, he has deleted himself from it. Complaints raised by Ady Macauley, lawyer for the 3rd defendant brought it to the courts attention that the language and tone of the writings of the plaintiff and his lawyer were against the spirit of confidentiality and professionalism to which he expects the Plaintiff’s lawyer to adhere to. Lawyer Jengi was warned to desist and to further advice his client to do the same. The matter was adjourned to Monday 9th August for ruling.