LAB to Provide Legal Representation for 353 Indigents During Special Court Sessions

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By Theresa Kef Sesay

Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles, Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, has assured the Honourable Chief Justice, Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards and other actors in the justice sector that the Board will provide legal representation to all indigent accused persons in the upcoming Special Criminal Session of the High Court.

“We will provide legal representation to all the 353 accused persons who will be appearing before the court if our ‘Means Test’ proves that they are indigents,” Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said at a meeting summoned by the Chief Justice on Monday 24 August 2020 which was meant to put finishing touches to preparations for the Special Sessions which start by the end of the month of August and end in October 2020.

The Special sessions will be held in Port Loko, Kabala, Matru Jong, Magburaka, Kailahun, Moyamba and Pujehun districts. The Law Officer’s Department, Court Registrars, Correctional Service and the Police confirm their preparedness for the Sessions. The Director of Public Prosecution said they will put on hold all transfers for State Counsels until the conclusion of the sessions. The Police will provide security, vehicles and fuel for transportation of the accused persons.

It would be called that the Board has carried the sessions since its inception in May 2015.  It has provided legal representation for most of the accused persons, more than 95%, whose cases were heard in the Special Sessions. In the case of Special Sessions held upcountry, the Board has provided legal representation for hundred percent of the cases.

The Chief Justice said he would like to have no less than 90% completion of the cases.

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