The motion to lift the Civil Law Court’s preliminary injunction placed on the Press Union of Liberia’s (PUL) election of a new corps of officers will still remain in force, following the Court’s action to deny that request.
Given the Court’s ruling on Monday, November 18, Judge Boima Kontoe declared that, “This Court observed that in the motion to dismiss, there is no evidence to the effect that the respondents do not have the capacity or standing to maintain the current action.”
He further ruled, “It is the considered judgment of this court that the motion to dismiss on ground the respondents do not have the legal capacity and standing to bring the current action be, and the same is hereby denied and the case ordered proceeded within the interest of justice and far play.”
The injunction was placed on the PUL’s election after lawyers representing, Mr. J. Cholo Brooks and Mr. W. Omecee Johnson (respondents), presidential and vice presidential candidates respectively, filed a petition for “Declaratory Judgment,” arguing that they were disqualified by the Union’s election Commission without any investigations.
In response, the Union, through its legal team, filed a motion to lift the injunction and dismiss the petition.
They –among others– argued that Mr. Brooks was disqualified after he failed to measure up to Article 8, Section 1 of the Union’s Constitution, and that Mr. Johnson served as Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Leymah Gbowee Peace Foundation, which violates Article 4, Section 1 (iv) of PUL’s constitution.
Article 8, Section 1 of the Union’s Constitution states that, “A journalist or member of the Union aspiring for the position of president shall satisfy the following requirements: ‘holding of at least a Bachelor’s degree in any field of study, having served in the media for more than 10 years and above and having risen to the rank of editor, program director, senior program producer and being responsible.’”
Article 4, Section 1 (iv) also states that “Public Relations Officer/Managers, who were full members of the Union as of the coming into force of this constitution, shall continue to remain full members of the Union, they shall vote, but shall not be voted.”
Continuing with the Court’s ruling, Judge Kontoe said “The motion to dismiss presents issue of facts, which must be passed upon by this court, rather than dismissing it.”
He further stated: “The resistance that the respondents did not meet the requirement of the elections commission is the matter of facts and must be established.” He added, “The burden of establishing that the respondents do not meet the requirement to participate in the election is on the Union to prove.”