Supreme Court

Namibia’s apex court ‘seriously censures’ police officers for malicious arrest and acting as though ‘beyond any level of accountability’

Namibia’s highest court has sternly reproved elements of the country’s police service for seriously abusing their power and acting ‘as if they were beyond any level of accountability’. In its official summary of the case, the supreme court wrote that the ‘highhanded conduct of the police officers called for serious censure by this court.’ The case concerns Bernhardt Lazarus who runs a bar in Windhoek and who was terrorised by some members of the police who repeatedly arrested him, without warrant or cause.

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The decision of the supreme court in this case has been well over a year in the making, and one of the three judges who heard the matter, Justice Elton Hoff, noted at the top of the judgment that the litigants were due an apology for the delay in delivering the decision. It has to be said that for the courts to acknowledge when they don’t deliver timely decisions is a welcome development and fair to all the parties involved.

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’.

State must take tougher steps to ensure people's fundamental rights are not violated - Kenya’s apex court

The supreme court of Kenya has delivered a significant judgment on the right to shelter. It involved people who had been living in two informal settlements since the 1960s, when it was effectively public land. In 2013, they were forcibly evicted by a private entity, the Moi Educational Centre, with the help of the state via the police and others. The high court found in favour of the people who were evicted, saying there was an ‘unapologetic admission’ by the Moi Centre that it had evicted the people and had their homes demolished, all without a court order.

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As the supreme court explains right at the start, this case concerns the interpretation of the right to accessible and adequate housing under the constitution’s Article 43 and, where a court finds violation of rights, the constitutional remedy of compensation.

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