Ahmed Akar Ahmed ,christianna Ahmed and The Managing Director Amtech furniture Factory and Others (941)  SLCA 941 (15 July 2016);
Counsel for Defendant:
C.F Edwards Esq
Counsel for Plaintiff:
Emmanuel S.Abdulai Esq
IN THE HIGH COURT OF SIERRA LEONE
GENERAL CIVIL JURISDICTION
AHMED AKAR AHMED - PLAINTIFF/APPLICANT
THE MANAGING DIRECTOR - DEFENDANTS/RESPONDENTS
AMTECH FURNITURE FACTORY & OTHERS
THE HON MR. JUSTICE REGINALD SYDNEY FYNN JA
Emmanuel S Abdulai for the Applicants
C. F. Edwards for the Respondents
RULING dated 15th July 2016
- This application is primarily about sleep or the deprivation of sleep. That activity which is ironically carried out in a state of seeming in-activity. Experience teaches us that it is vital for the restoration of the human spirit as well as the resuscitation and recuperation of the body.
- The applicant claims in his application that the first respondent who carries on the business of a furniture factory close by the applicant’s residence, in what is predominantly a residential area, does so in a manner which is likely to cause several environmental and health hazards including; “suffocation, air poisoning, eye burn, sore throat, skin and lung cancer.
- For the purposes of the present application dated 29th February 2016 and the affidavit in support of even date, the applicant zeroes in on the “screeching noises”produced by the first respondent’s machines, “the noise of off-loading timber and the sounds of trucks” throughout the day especially at odd hours “when people are sleeping” thereby causing “inconvenience of disturbing their sleep at midnight”.
- The applicant seeks an interlocutory injunction to limit the offending activities of the respondent whilst the substantive matter which was commenced by Writ of Summons (Exhibit C) is being heard and disposed of.
- In his submissions Counsel for the applicant pressed the point that the inconvenience complained about i.e. loss of sleep is one that is peculiarly irreparable when once it is lost and that no amount of damages could bring back the hours of sleep which would be lost due to the first respondent’s conduct. Similarly so, no amount of money can compensate the applicant for any health issues that may emanate from the said loss of sleep.
- Counsel urged further that the balance of convenience in these circumstances leans heavily to the favour of the applicant, relying on the approach adopted by the Supreme Court in the case of Alhaji Samsumana Vs. Victor Bockarie Foh 2015 (Unreported)
- The respondent has filed an affidavit in opposition dated 29th June 2016 to which he has exhibited the Business registration certificate of the 1st Respondent as well as the Notice of Dis-Continuance in respect of an earlier matter on the same issues brought by this same applicant.
- In his submissions counsel for the Respondent urged on the court that the 1st respondent has been in this business and at this location since 1977 long before the Applicant moved in and made the neighborhood his place of residence. A similar posturing is found in the 1st Respondent’s Defence which is also before me as Exhibit “E” in the affidavit in support.
- This court has the jurisdiction to grant an interlocutory injunction pursuant to O 35 R1 of the High Court Rules 2007 where it deems it just. I must stress that at this stage I am not called upon to rule on the eventual strength or weakness of any of the parties’ case. However the same being before me as argued by their respective solicitors for the purposes of this application the same can make an impression on my mind and provide me with guidance as to what is just in the immediate circumstances.
- The locus classicus of Bliss vs. Hall (1838) 132 ER 758 and Sturges vs. Bridgeman LR 11 Ch D 852 without saying more offer significant guidance and instruction on the subjects of ‘coming to the nuisance’ and ‘prescription as a defence’ respectively to the tort of Nuisance. The age of these cases have made them like vintage wine more agreeable to the palate and the principles therein may be found useful in this instant.
- I agree with the applicant that the value of sleep lost may be inestimable and any consequent damage suffered irreparable. On the other hand any business lost due to an interlocutory injunction may be quantified and made up for in damages.
- It is important that there are in the evening at least ten (10) hours for the applicant to rest and or sleep even whilst the case proceeds to judgment. In the circumstances I order as follows:
- An Interlocutory Injunction restraining the 1st Defendant whether by himself his servants privies etc.. from carrying on the business of a furniture factory in and around 8 Ascension Town Road, Freetown between the hours of 9: 00pm to 6:00am.
- An Interlocutory Injunction restraining the 1st Defendant whether by himself his servants privies etc.. from carrying on the business of a furniture factory in and around 8 Ascension Town Road, Freetown on Sundays.
- Costs in the cause of the substantive action
The Hon Mr. Justice Reginald Sydney FYNN JA…………………………………..