Legal representation was provided by the Legal Aid Board to 39 accused persons arraigned before Justice Monfred Sesay, JA at the just concluded January Criminal Sessions of the High Court on 30th January to 2nd February 2023 at the Freetown High Court No. 1 on Siaka Stevens Street in Freetown.
They make up a total of 43 accused persons called by the court. Four of those called were absent. One absentee and his sureties were issued with a bench warrant by the court.
The beneficiaries were indicted on multiple offences ranging from conspiracy to defraud to murder, larceny in a dwelling house, wounding with intent, robbery, robbery with aggravation, assault with intent to rob, shop breaking and larceny, larceny from a person, larceny in a dwelling house and fraudulent conversion.
13 of the 39 accused persons represented by the Board pleaded guilty. Nine of those who pleaded guilty were cautioned and discharged while four were sentenced to various prison terms.
Among those cautioned and then discharged were a Guinean Aminata Jalloh and a juvenile offender Joseph Sawyer not his real name. Aminata was arraigned on a two-count charge of conspiracy to commit a felony and shop breaking and larceny while Joseph was on a two-count charge of house breaking and larceny.
Following their discharge, the two were handed-over to the Board to facilitate their reunion with their families.
Admonishing some of the convicts most of whom are youths and first-time offenders after plea-in-mitigation by Legal Aid Board Counsel before pronouncing his sentence, Justice Monfred Sesay warned them not to involve into anything unlawful. He said in a situation where they repeat offend, they will not be shown any leniency.
In a brief statement at the Legal Aid Board head office, the Executive Director of the Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles warned the beneficiaries against reoffending noting that the “Board is challenged with limited number of staff especially lawyers and will be constrained to provide representation to repeat offenders.”
The beneficiaries were represented by Legal Aid Counsels: Cecilia Tucker; Ibrahim Samba; Morrison Karimu; Harold Momoh; Randy Bangura; Taylor-Younge and A. Kargbo.