Justice Musu Kamara today, 17th June 2016, delivered her judgement in the matter between David Tam Mbayoh vs Independent Media commission after seven months of extensive submission for Lawyers for the party.
She agrees with Lawyer Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai that the IMC Act provides in section 9 (1) and section 21 (1), (2), and (3) the manner in which IMC can suspend media house. The procedure is for the IMC to inform the media house of any breaches of the IMC Act and allow the media to remedy it. This the IMC didn’t not and acted rashly in suspending the program.
She also said section 9 (1) created an investigative committee and the committee’s responsibility is to investigate complaints. ‘No punishment should be slammed until the investigative committee has completed its findings’, she said. However, the IMC did not wait for the independent investigation to conclude it’s investigation.
The judge went on that maybe the IMC had data at her disposal to issue a preemptive strike. She therefore concluded that the IMC should not have banned the program without following the law. “IMC acted rashly”, she concluded.
The judge ordered that the IMC pays the cost of the litigation. Either both parties agree on the cost or the cost be assessed by the Master and registrar of the High Court
In an empty court room, lawyers representing the parties were the only ones in attendance. Lawyer Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai representing the Applicant, David Tam Mbayoh, against Lawyer Africanus Sesay, Lawyer Brima Koroma and Lawyers Manso represented the IMC.
Lawyer Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai who appeared to have won refused to comment saying he will have to read the judgement first. He is a leading human rights lawyer and represents media practitioners, human rights defenders and poor people under the aegis of his Society for Democratic Initiatives.
This is a second successive judicial review case one against the IMC for breaching it’s parent law and not following procedures. Jonathan Leigh won similar review a year ago and was represented by the same lawyer Abdulai.