“Wrong Precedent”

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Grand Cape Mount Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman (UP) has frowned upon the recent decision taken by the Supreme Court in response to electoral complaints  arising from the December 20, 2014 Special Senatorial Elections, terming it as having set “the wrong precedent.”

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer at the Capitol Building in Monrovia on Monday, the Unity Party chairman noted that the High Court’s involvement with complaints coming out of the electoral process last year did not auger well for either the electoral or the judiciary systems in Liberia.

“The Supreme Court is saying that when there is a complaint of irregularity in an election, until that complaint is investigated and finally decided by the Supreme Court, the person declared winner should not take his seat.

“I think the Supreme Court is wrong, dead wrong,” Counselor Sherman insisted.

“If we keep that decision of the Supreme Court as a law of the Republic of Liberia, and in 2017 we have 21 candidates,” Cllr. Sherman fears there could be chaos in the country.   

“For example, when Joe Bloe comes first and Mary Brown comes second, the cases will start coming. That means we cannot have the second round until these cases are decided. There will be 21 cases just to decide that the persons declared first and second have the right votes in the election.

“After that is decided, then the second round goes into motion and somebody is declared winner. There’s another case. Might they be ready for inauguration?” he wondered.

“Then there is the House of Representatives, with 73 vacant seats.   Imagine how many cases we will have to address,” Senator Sherman indicated.

“There is a reason why the guys before us said “once the Election Commission declares John Brown a winner of an election, he takes a seat. If it is established that the winner should not have been there, he gives it up.

“Interestingly, the Supreme Court asked my lawyer who would take the seated person out of office and our response was, “You, the Supreme Court, and your decision can be enforced by the Executive branch of government.”

Senator Sherman predicts that there will be a problem in 2017.

He reminded the High Court of a law that gives the Legislature the power to decide its own members. Counselor Sherman, who is one of the nation’s most experienced legal practitioners, further indicated, “The Senate or House of Representatives can pass a resolution instructing the Sergeant-At-Arms to stop that person from entering the chamber.”

“The other means is the writ of Quo-Warranto that has the power to oust somebody from power under a similar situation. The remedies are there, but the Supreme Court decided to engage in such fundamental errors,” said Senator Sherman.

Senator Sherman took his Senate seat belatedly, owing to a law suit filed before the Supreme Court against him by his opponent in the senatorial election in Cape Mount, Dr. Foday Kromah.  Yet, perhaps due to his legal eminence, he was elected Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a white ballot—meaning without opposition.

Judicial Committee Chairman Sherman’s comments on the Supreme Court’s decision were in response to a question asked about his impression of the judicial system of Liberia.

According to him, there are fundamental errors practiced in the judiciary, but the issue of perceived corruption in the court system cannot be ruled out.

Meanwhile, Senator Sherman announced that he will draft a legislation to defeat the High Court’s opinion.

He maintained that if these fundamental problems are not addressed, the 2017 presidential and legislative elections will certainly create “a major problem” in the country.

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