automatic appeal rights

Apologising for delay, Sierra Leone’s highest court says appeal ‘beggars belief’ because based on ‘unsigned and undated’ documents

The highest court in Sierra Leone has dismissed an appeal by the losing candidate in an election for chieftaincy. The appeal was, however, based on provisions that only came into legal operation after the disputed election. Not just that, the provisions were also never shown to any witness nor, until they were attached as annexures in counsel’s final written address, were they even available to the court itself.


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Sierra Leone’s supreme court has set its face against a candidate who failed to be elected as a paramount chief in 2003. In the process of finding against P C Mohamed Kailondo Banya, the five judges who heard his appeal apologised for the role that the judiciary might have played in the almost unheard-of delays in finalising the issue.

The court said it was ‘extremely regrettable’ that a matter filed in May 2011 should only have been heard ‘at the tail end of 2020’.

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