Legal Aid Board Secures Release of Two Juveniles and the Discharge of Eight Defendants

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By Esther Wright

In a recent legal development, the Legal Aid Board (LAB) has achieved notable successes in securing the release of two juveniles and the discharge of eight defendants from various court proceedings.

At Freetown Magistrate Court No. 7, presided over by Magistrate Wilbril Hamida Moira John, two juveniles, identified under pseudonyms Rahim Bangura and Jonathan Koroma, were released due to lack of prosecution as per Section 94 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1965. Rahim’s release occurred on Monday, April 15, while Jonathan regained freedom on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. The juveniles, previously held on separate trials for charges including housebreaking and larceny, were represented by Legal Aid Counsel Bankole C.E. Morgan.

Rahim, apprehended in November 2023 in Waterloo, and Jonathan, arrested in Calaba Town, had been in remand at the Kingtom Remand Home until their recent release. Following their discharge, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles, Executive Director of the Board, personally advised them at the Board’s headquarters in Freetown to return home, reunite with their families, and resume schooling. She urged them to avoid activities that might lead them into conflict with the law, emphasizing contentment with family provisions.

Additionally, the LAB facilitated the return and reunification of one juvenile with his family in Makeni through a partnership with Dream the Future Africa Initiative.

In a separate development, the Board achieved the discharge of eight accused individuals from Kono Magistrate Court between April 8 and April 15, 2024. Furthermore, it secured bail for four remaining accused individuals arraigned on manslaughter charges at Kambia Magistrate Court, presided over by Magistrate George B. Samai.

The accused individuals, including six women and two men, faced charges related to the alleged deaths of two teenagers following Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or ‘Bondo’ initiation in Tonko Limba Chiefdom, Kambia district. Legal representation was provided by Counsel Mohamed Korie for those in Kambia and Counsel Alpha O. Kamara for those in Kono, both serving as LAB Resident Counsels for Port Loko and Kambia Districts.

These legal successes underscore the crucial role of the Legal Aid Board in safeguarding the rights and ensuring fair representation for individuals involved in legal proceedings across Sierra Leone.


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