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As Hon. Babatunde Edwards takes voluntary leave: Senior Supreme Court Judge acts as Chief Justice

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As Hon. Babatunde Edwards takes voluntary leave: Senior Supreme Court Judge acts as Chief Justice

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His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio has appointed Supreme Court Judge, Hon. Justice Nicholas Browne-Marke to act as Chief Justice as the substantive Chief Justice, Hon. Desmond Babatunde Edwards proceeds on voluntary Leave.

Acting C.J – Hon. Justice Browne-Marke

Reports have it that earlier this week, Hon. Desmond Babatunde Edwards voluntarily informed President Bio that he will go on Leave and so the current most senior Supreme Court judge is to act as Chief Justice until further notice.

Former government Cabinet Minister, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden said: “This is according to dictate of Section 136(1) of 1991 Constitution. Section 136(1) says if the Chief Justice is for any reason, unable to perform his duties and functions then all those functions “shall be performed by the most senior for the time being of the Justices of the Supreme Court”.

She said for now, the most senior Supreme Court judge is Hon. Justice Nicholas Browne-Marke and that President Bio has therefore obeyed the Sierra Leone Constitution by writing to appoint Hon. Browne-Marke as Acting Chief Justice.

“So far, all steps taken are constitutional. Some people say because Hon. Browne-Marke is on contract having passed retirement age then he cannot be made the Acting Chief Justice but others insist that as long as he is currently the “most senior” Supreme Court Judge on the active Bench, whether he is on contract or not, the Constitution says he should act as Chief Justice.” Dr. Blyden noted.

Prior to his new appointment, the current acting Chief Justice was appointed as Justice of Court of Appeal on 1st March, 2007 and as Supreme Court Judge in December, 2014. Hon. Chief Justice Browne-Marke is also the most senior judge at the Supreme Court in the Gambia.

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