The Resident High Court Judge, Kailahun District, Hon. Justice Francis Banks-Kamara who is currently presiding over cases in the ongoing Prison Court Initiative has cautioned and discharged eight convicts who were convicted by the Magistrate’s Court and reduced the sentences of ten others.

Addressing inmates at the official start of the exercise in the district, Hon. Justice Banks-Kamara said that the exercise is aimed at ensuring free, fair, expeditious and accessible justice delivery to all irrespective of gender, class or region. He used the moment to admonish those who’ll be fortunate to benefit from the exercise to desist from all forms of crimes that would take them back into the Correctional Centres.

22-year-old Business man, Yusuf Baboo who was summarily convicted at the Magistrate Court of the offence of Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm contrary to section 47 of the Offences against the Person Act 1816, was cautioned and discharged.

He was said to have assaulted one Steven Kpullum in a manner thereby occasioning him actual bodily harm on Saturday 13th April 2024 at Mawoh Street in Daru Town.

Informing the Court about his decision in respect of Baboo, Hon. Justice Banks-Kamara said, “having perused the whole file and the circumstances explained to me by the convict, I hereby set aside the judgment of the presiding Magistrate. I hereby substitute the ten months (10) sentence to two months to be served by the convict.”

29-year-old Farmer, Junior Belay who was convicted and sentenced for the offence of Domestic Violence contrary to section 2 (1) (b) of the Domestic Violence Act No. 20 of 2007, was cautioned and discharged. Belay’s record indicates that on the 17th of February 2024, at Kangama Town in Kissi Teng Chiefdom, Kailahun District, while in a domestic relationship with Abdul Bayoh his elder brother economically abused him by destroying twenty two (22) sticks of Cocoa valued Nle 12,000 being property of Abdul Bayoh.

Justice Banks-Kamara said the matter started from a family dispute and that the convict has already served his sentence. He was therefore cautioned and discharged.

Hon. Justice Banks-Kamara equally cautioned and discharged one Kanneh James, a pupil after he was convicted of Larceny at the Magistrate Court and sentenced to seven months (7) imprisonment. He was charged under Section 2 of the Larceny Act of 1916.

His record at the Magistrate Court indicates that on Saturday 24th February 2024, at New London Section in Kailahun Town, in the Eastern Province, he stole Plaintains valued two hundred Leone NLe (200).

Convicts Mohamed Brima, Alicious Jusu, Fomba Musa Saidu Karim, Kanneh James, and Mutary Ajai were all cautioned and discharged for various offences for which they were serving their terms.

A number of judgments from the Magistrate Court were set aside and terms of imprisonment of different convicts substituted, including 21-year-old Mechanic, Junior Fomba whose ten months jail term after being convicted of Larceny was substituted and reduced to two months, 18-year-old Mason, Momoh Foday who was convicted of Larceny and sentenced to eight months but substituted and reduced to three months, 17-year-old Farmer, Ishmeal Kamara convicted and sentenced to eight months imprisonment was substituted and reduced to three months among others.

The judgments of 22-year-old Mohamed Kamara who was convicted and sentenced to twelve months (12) imprisonment for maliciously damaging a police station window and that of Moses Momoh who was sentenced to twelve months for unlawful possession of Narcotics were upheld by the Hon. Judge.

The Prison Court has brought a sigh of relief to hundreds of inmates across the country whose cases would otherwise have been delayed for one reason or the other.

This year’s Prison Court exercise is organised by the Judiciary of Sierra Leone with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The four-day nationwide exercise which commenced on Wednesday is aimed at fast-tracking cases which have stalled for one reason or the other thereby enduring expeditious justice.