During two separate Special Criminal Sessions of the High Court held in Kamakwie in the Karene District and Magburaka in the Tonkolili district the Legal Aid Board secured the discharge of fourteen (14)of thirty-one (31) accused persons.
The sessions were held from 27 June to the 8 July 2022 and presided over by Justice Abdul Sheriff and Justice Unisa Kamara respectively. Seven of the beneficiaries were discharged in the Sessions in Kamakwie while the seven others were discharged in the Magburaka Sessions.
The fourteen (14) were among thirty-one (31) accused persons whose matters were slated for hearing during the two week Sessions. Twenty-three (23) accused persons had their cases heard in Tonkolili District while eight were in heard in Karene District.
Thirteen (13) accused persons were convicted and sentenced to various prison terms including Life Imprisonment. Twelve of those sentenced were in Kamakwie while the one was in Magburaka. Two others were absent, one was remitted and another was referred for mental examination.
All the accused persons in Magburaka, Tonkolili District were represented by Legal Aid Counsels Mohamed Korie and O.A Kamara while those in Kamakwie in the Karene District were represented by Counsel Ibrahim Samba.
In a related development, the Board secured the discharge of three accused persons in the High Court in Freetown. The three were discharged in two separate courts. Alpha Mansaray and Ibrahim Bockarie who were jointly charged with burglary were discharged by Justice Monfred Sesay, Justice of the Appeals Court while the third Ibrahim Sorie Bangura who was charged with murder was discharged by Justice A.K Musa. The three were represented by Legal Aid Counsels Cecilia Tucker and Randy Bangura.
The Executive Director of the Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles praised the Legal Aid Counsels for rising up to the challenge of representing all the clients. “What we are lacking in number, we are making up for in our commitment in ensuring no client is unrepresented,” she said. She assured of the Board’s continued commitment to ensuring that the poor and vulnerable are represented in the courts.
On a final note, Ms. Carlton-Hanciles extolled the Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards for expanding access to justice by organizing Special Criminal Sessions around the country.