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Supreme Court dismisses SLAJ case

20 November 2009 at 01:38 | 628 views

SIERRA LEONE ASSOCIATION OF JOURNALISTS (SLAJ)

Headquarters, 1st Floor, 56 Campbell Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone P.M.B. 724

E-mail: slaj.salone@gmail.com

President: +232 76/77/33 609285

Secretary General: +232 76/77/30/33 652556


SUPREME COURT DISMISSES SLAJ’S CASE FOR
REPEAL OF CRIMINAL LIBEL LAWS IN SIERRA LEONE

Freetown – SLAJ wishes to inform the public, especially its strategic partners that the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone on Tuesday November 10, 2009 dismissed it case calling for repeal of criminal and seditious libel laws (as contained in Section 26, 27 and 32-36 of the 1965 Public Order Act), which the association believes are inconsistent with Section 25 of the 1991 Constitution which guarantee press freedom and freedom of expression.

The 44-paged and three-hour long judgments were delivered consecutively by the Chief Justice Hon. Umu H. Tejan-Jalloh and Supreme Court Justice Maitland Emeric Tolla-Thompsons. Other Supreme Court Justices of the Coram were Mrs. C. Bash-Taqi, Mrs. V.A.D Wright and Mr .G. Semega-Janneh.

SLAJ was represented by Messrs. Yada Williams and Osman Jalloh, while the defendants, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Hon Serry Kamal and the Hon Minister of Information and Communication, Ibrahim Ben Kargbo were represented by Messrs. L.M Farmah and Osman Kamara.

The originating notice of motion with special reference to Section 171(15) of the 1991 Constitution was filed by SLAJ on 26th February 2008, supported by the affidavit of Richard Olu Gordon, Editor Peep Magazine; Philip Neville, Executive Editor Standard Times Newspaper and Dr Julius Spencer, Managing Director, Premier Media Consultancy. And final arguments were concluded on 9 March 2009 when the court sat on the matter one year later.

SLAJ wishes to note that the rulings are the toughest legal setbacks for the struggle for press freedom, media pluralism and freedom of expression in Sierra Leone in recent times, with far reaching implications for professional media practice and democratic governance.

The SLAJ Executive however wishes to assure all members that although the next step will be agreed at the Annual General Meeting in Makeni late this month, it will not relent in seeking alternative legal actions to get these draconian laws repealed.

……………................
Mustapha M. K Sesay

National Secretary General

Photo: SLAJ president Umaru Fofana.

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