Sierra Leone's Landmark Constitutional Case Begins Today

Archive photo of President Koroma looking on as
three Supreme Court
judges are sworn in to office at State House 
Freetown -- (April 9, 2015) Five Supreme Court judges including the Acting Chief Justice Valesius Thomas heard a 'Notice of Motion' by J.B. Jenkins Johnston, the lead counsel for the plaintiff Samuel Sumana.

The plaintiff is seeking an interlocutory injunction "to restrain Victor Bockarie Foh from acting as and/or carrying the functions of the Vice President of Sierra Leone pending the determination of the matter before the Supreme Court, in respect of the action of the President to "relieve" his Vice President."

Lead Counsel for the second respondent Victor Foh is Ajibola Manley-Spaine. Berthan Macauley Jr. is lead counsel for the first respondent, the Attorney General of Sierra Leone.

The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone will dispense legal insight into two questions:

Whether the Constitution of Sierra Leone empowers the President "to relieve the Vice President of his office and duties” in any way other than by the procedure set out in Sections 50 and 51
Whether the "Supreme executive authority" of the President mentioned in Section 40 (1) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, includes the power to relieve the Vice President of his Office and duties" other than by the procedure set out in Sections 50 and 51 of the said Constitution

Their decisions will be final and binding.

The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone consists of five Supreme Court justices, headed by the Chief Justice. Currently they are Acting Chief Justice Valesius Thomas, Justices Nicholas Browne Marke, Eku Roberts, Patrick Hamilton, and Vivian Solomon.

The judges are appointed by the president of Sierra Leone and must be confirmed by the Parliament of Sierra Leone by at least 60 percent majority vote in order to take office.

Justice Vivian Margarette Solomon was appointed a Justice of the Court of Appeal in March 2010 and on December 19, 2014 she was appointed to the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone. She has been a Commissioner for Oaths since July 2006 and a Notary Public of the High Court since March 2006. From 1989 to 2010 she practiced as a private legal practitioner in Freetown, Sierra Leone in criminal and civil law. Justice Solomon earned her Bachelor of Science from State University of New York College in 1981 and her L.L.B from the University of Buckingham in 1983. In November 1985 she received the Degree of Utter Barrister at Middle Temple in London. In June 1987 she received an L.L.M. in Public International Law from St. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge. She was appointed a Judge of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone in 2013.

Justice Emmanuel Ekundayo Roberts has been a judge of Sierra Leone’s Court of Appeal since 2007 and on 19 December 2014 was appointed to the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone. Since 2005, he has also been a Lecturer in Civil Procedure at the Sierra Leone Law School. From 2003 to 2007 he worked as a Legal Consultant at the Law Officers Department in Freetown. From 1991 to 2002 he was a lawyer in private practice including, from 2001 to 2002, as head of the firm Roberts & Partners. He received his LLB from Fourah Bay College, the University of Sierra Leone, in 1989 and his BL in 1990 from the Sierra Leone Law School. In 2010 he was made a Fellow of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He was appointed a Judge of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone in 2013.


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