Disaster For Sierra Leone Judiciary …As High Court Overturns Supreme Court Judgment
The New Storm can categorically report that, even though Chief Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards is doing everything humanly possible to restore the image of the judiciary and see that those who deserve justice can be awarded, yet there are some judges in the said institution who are bent on undermining the whole process at all levels, so the executive can become a total failure.
According to findings, one such judge is Justice Alan Halloway of the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone.
Past Thursday 13th February 2022, he delivered a faulty judgement against late Alhaji Gassimu Kaisamba and sons in the Kenema High Court.
The matter that was before the court rested on the true and legal ownership of a property situated at No. 11 Kaisamba Terrace in the heart of Kenema City.
In 1977, late Chief Morie Bockarie Kaisamba took a legal action against late Massah Vangahun Kaisamba in the Kenema High Court for the said property.
While late Justice S.T. Navo was the agitating Judge, late Lawyer D.B. Quee represented the plaintive/appellant, late Chief Morie Kaisamba. Late Lawyer A.B. Kamara represented the defendant/respondent.
After carefully looking into the matter, late Justice Navo delivered judgement in favour of the plaintiff/appellant. The judge also ordered the defendant/respondent to pay Le400.00 as cost to the victor.
Before this time, the Nongowa Local Court had also looked into the matter, where judgement was first given to the plaintiff. The matter eventually landed in the Court of Appeal with late Lawyer Garvas J. Betts, representing the plaintiff. Here again judgment was given in favour of late Chief Morie Bockarie Kaisamba.
As if that was not enough, for the defendant, she took the matter to the Supreme Court. The matter was rejected by the court on the grounds that it upheld both the judgements of the High Court and Appeals Courts.
On the 30th November 1987, Lawyer Garvas J. Betts, acting on behalf of the plaintiff, wrote a letter to the acting Registrar of the Appeal Court, late R.A. Caesar, requesting the court to enforce the judgment. At the end of the legal battle, it was only left with having possession of the property by the rightful owners as declared by the courts. This was never done unto date.
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Between 2015 and 2016, to the surprise of the plaintiff, brothers and siblings, Madam Gbessay Kaisamba filed a fresh lawsuit in the Kenema High Court for the same property. This came about after 39 years when all the courts have been exhausted with judgments delivered in favour of Alhaji Gassimu Kaisamba.
This time round, Justice Alan Halloway, who was the resident Judge, presided over the matter. The plaintiff was represented by Lawyer Garber, while the Chairman of the Political Parties Representation Commission, Lawyer Masianday Bangura, represented late Chief Gassimu Kaisamba and sons.
Throughout the trial, the new plaintiff never, at any point in time, produced authentic documents for claiming the property. The only document tendered in court was the compound plan, comprising of all the houses, including the one in dispute now. This was done by late Alhaji Gassimu Kaisamba.
After six years, again, in court, the Judge past Thursday delivered judgement in favour of the new plaintiff, Madam Gbessay Kaisamba, thereby overturning all the judgments delivered by the various courts in the past.
According to the verdict delivered by the Judge, late Chief Moiwai Kaisamba built houses for all his wives, including one for the mother of the present plaintiff. There is however no affidavit before the court, presented by the lawyer representing the plaintiff, to show that the late chief built houses for all his wives.
It is on record and to the eye view of every native in the Nongowa Chiefdom, particularly Kenema City, that the mother of the plaintiff, late Massah Vangahun
Kaisamba, was the only wife of the late chief to have benefitted from the houses built by the latter. The said house is located on No. 1 Mission Road in Kenema City.
This is the type of justice many Sierra Leoneans are going through as those who have money and access to the seat of power always carry the day. Such justice system, many people opine, has the tendency to drive away potential investors and create social unrest in the country.
The verdict, delivered by Justice Halloway, has also been described as a complete ridicule and mockery of Sierra Leone’s judicial system.
As we go to press, the sons and grand-children of late Chief Moiwai Kaisamba are hanging heads to arrive at a concrete resolution to file an appeal in the Court of Appeal against the faulty verdict delivered by Justice Halloway.