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S/Court Orders Induction of PUL Elected Leadership ‘Reserved’

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By Frank P. Martin

MONROVIA: The full bench of the Supreme Court of Liberia has come down with verdict into the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) long-standing electoral dispute.

In its ruling, the high court indicated that “the stayed order” on the induction of the officers elect of the Press Union of Liberia, absent of the issuance of the alternative writ, is hereby reserved. The clerk of this court is ordered to send a mandate to the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, Bong County, commanding effect to this judgment, hereby ordered and so ordered.”

Yesterday, December 19, 2023, the high court granted a Bill of Information filed by the Campaign Team of Mr. Julius K. Kanubah, through its legal team against the Administration of the Press Union of Liberia, and the Elections Commissioners of the Press Union of Liberia, headed by Atty. Ade Wede Kerkulah, and other members of the Independent Elections Commission, including Fabin Kwiah, Eddie Harmon, and former Secretary of Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), Cllr. Bobby Livingstone.

This followed a Writ of Declaratory Judgement filed before the 9th Judicial Circuit against the Press Union Leadership, Congress, and Election Committees by Team Kanubah in 2022.

Nonetheless, the election was held once the injunction was lifted with a valid bond that was approved by the Resident Judge of the 9th Judicial Circuit.

In another attempt to delay the inauguration of the leaders of the Union, Team Julius filed a Writ of Prohibition before the Supreme Court Justice in Chamber, Yussif Kaba.

They wanted the inauguration of officers halted and the election producing the officers annulled.

Justice Kaba subsequently declined to grant the prohibition but Team Julius stalling efforts continued through the due process of law.

Team Julius again proceeded to Gbarnga to withdraw their Writ of Declaratory Judgement and made amendments and refiled the same before the 9th Judicial Circuit Court.

They later assigned the Presiding Justice Kaba’s ruling before the court in Gbarnga and subsequently filed for Stay Order on the Inauguration of officers of the Press Union of Liberia which was granted.

Lawyers representing the Union were never present at the hearing.
Accordingly, Supreme Court Associate Justice, Joseph Nagbe, granted a Bill of Information filed before him on grounds that Justice Kaba had declined to prohibit the election and all subsequent events growing out of the conduct of such poll.

Justice Nagbe also stressed that the process leading to the Stay Order was one-sided and did not entertain any debate to establish an independent position.

Yesterday, when the case was called for hearing, Counsellor Festus K. Nowon, sr. appeared for the informant while Counsellor Samuel S. Pearson appeared for the respondents.

“Having heard the arguments, reviewed the facts and circumstances revealed by the records, and examined the laws controlling them, it is hereby,” the Full Bench of the Supreme Court ruled.

The court said it is the law in this jurisdiction that a Chambers Justice has the discretionary authority to determine whether or not to issue a remedial writ prayed for in a petition filed before him.

The Full Bench invoked Judiciary Law Chapter 2 section 2.9, which says “if Chambers Justice declines to issue a writ in any such remedial petition, he is stopped from taking any further action to vary lower tribunal’s decision against which the remedial was prayed for. That it was, therefore, an error by the Justice in Chambers to have ordered, without issuing the alternative writ, that the trial judge set aside his stay order; That a bill of information will lie to prevent a judge or judicial officer who attempts to execute the mandate of the Supreme Court improperly from doing so or to prevent anyone whomsoever from interfering with the judgment and/or mandate of this Court.”

In its ruling the court said: “WHEREFORE AND IN VIEW OF THE FORGOING, and the bill of information is hereby granted.

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