By Theresa Kef Sesay
From the 1 August to 5 September the Legal Aid lawyers, with support from the Regional Programme Managers, had a very busy first week in the ongoing Special Criminal Sessions of the High Court in Port Loko, Pujehun and Kailahun. The Legal Aid Counsels represented all the 126 cases brought before the three Special Sessions in the first week.
Counsels Mohamed Korie and Ibrahim Samba represented all the 49 cases tried in the Port Loko session presided over by Justice S. O. Taylor in the first week. These include 13 Sexual Penetration, 8 murder, 18 larceny, 2 wounding with intent, 2 fraudulent conversion, 3 robbery, 1 human trafficking, 1 forgery and 1 dangerous riding cases. The Counsels secured bail for 5 accused persons. This number includes those whose lawyers failed to represent them without any excuse.
Legal Aid Counsel, Sei Kabbah Coomber represented 13 accused persons in Pujehun before Justice Ganda. Seven of these matters were concluded. These include Momoh Ngombu who was convicted of Larceny in a Dwelling House and sentenced to time served, Mathew Massaquoi was convicted of Shop Breaking and Larceny and sentenced to 8 years and Kabinnah Sankoh convicted of Sexual Penetration and sentenced to 7 years.
Legal Aid Counsels Ibrahim Tholley and Patrick Kamara represented 64 accused persons in the first week of the session presided over by Justice Simeon Alieu in Kailahun. They comprise 39 Sexual Penetration, 4 Murder, 5 Robbery, 4 Wounding with Intent, 5 House Breaking, 1 Child Cruelty, 3 Rape and 3 Conspiracy and House Breaking cases. Six matters were concluded and the convicts sentenced to various prison terms, three were discharged and three were acquitted and discharged.
A total of 182 cases will be tried in the criminal sessions in the three districts. These comprise 72 in Port Loko, 67 in Kailahun and 43 cases in the Pujehun. The latter include 27 Sexual Penetration, 3 Conspiracy and Larceny, 3 Larceny in a Dwelling House, 2 Store Breaking and Larceny, 2 Wounding with Intent, 1 Conspiracy and Fraudulent Conversion, 2 Larceny, 1 Drug Trafficking , 1 Burglary and 1 Murder cases.