The Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards has assigned 804 cases to be done in two weeks by 23 Judges to celebrate the Third Judicial Week.

In a press release the Judiciary of Sierra Leone announced to the general public that the third edition of the ACCESS TO JUSTICE THROUGH JUDICIAL WEEK which is aimed at increasing access to justice and decongesting Correctional Centres across the country will commence on Monday 28th August, and end on Friday, 8th September 2023. They said, “To achieve this. the Honourable Chief Justice has assigned twenty-three (23) Judges across the country to deal with 802 cases. Out of this number, 441 are in Freetown, and 361 cases and in the provinces. These offenses include murder, robbery with aggravation, sexual offenses, manslaughter, shop breaking, housebreaking, office breaking, wounding, larceny, burglary, malicious damage, child stealing, assault, embezzlement, and fraudulent conversion among others.”

In lining the number of cases to be handled, the Judiciary said, “Part of the total number of cases to be handled include 189 cases for which the accused and Victims have not been traced. Of that number, 85 of them are sexual offences. The no-trace cases are cases in which the accused persons were admitted to bail with no trace of them or their sureties or the victims have compromised or abandoned the case.”

In stating the commitment of the Judiciary, the release stressed that, “As part of the Judiciary’s commitment to enhance access to justice, accused persons will have the opportunity to be heard by the assigned judges with a view to bringing an end to their cases, and/or incarceration where they are trial inmates. Our responsibility is the timely delivery of justice with speedy completion of all cases before our Courts. Despite the administrative challenges and bottlenecks, the Judiciary must find ways to mete out justice to those that fall foul of the law” said the Honourable Chief Justice.

Chief Justice Edwards added that “this Access to Justice through Judicial Week is created as an alternative remedy to look into and deal with cases which have staled for one reason or the other. The aim of the exercise, apart from decongesting Correctional Centres, is to clear the backlog of cases that are being created mainly due to the absence of accused persons or the absence of witnesses coupled with the heavy caseload of Judges due to the high Judge-to-population ratio, which though significantly improved, is still high.”