Legal Aid Board Sierra Leone Represents 46 Accused Persons, Recruits First Disable Staff

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    Amin Kef Sesay

    Six Legal Aid Counsels comprising Cecilia Tucker, Sonia Bobanie Brown, Nicky Spencer-Coker, Mamako Kallon, Morrison Karimu and Ibrahim Bangura have provided legal representation to all the 46 accused persons whose cases were heard in the September 2020 Criminal Call Over session in Freetown.

    The three-day session started on the 15 September 2020. The Honourable Chief Justice, Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards presided over the proceedings and later handed-over to Justice Alusine Sesay JSC on September 16 who took over to the end of the session on September 17.

    Two of the accused persons represented were granted bail while six were sentenced to various prison terms. Thirty-eight (38) cases were adjourned. Twelve accused persons were charged with Robbery with Aggravation, four with Murder, one Conspiracy to Commit a Felony, five Wounding with Intent, five Shop Breaking and Larceny, one Burglary among others.

    The Criminal Call Over is a statutory session held in September, November, January and May where criminal cases committed to the High Court are called by the Chief Justice or any senior judge for trial in the High Court.

    The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles has lauded the Legal Aid Counsels for rising up to the challenge of providing legal representation to all the accused persons in the just concluded September 2020 Criminal Call Over session in Freetown and the ongoing Special Criminal Session around the country.  ‘We are proud of being the legal aid organization that continues to carry the criminal calendar in the country,’ Ms. Carlton-Hanciles said.

    In another development, the Legal Aid Board has recruited the first disabled, Maseray Brima, on its staff.  According to the Board this will help cement the healthy relationship with disabled persons. Maseray will cater for the needs of disabled persons when accessing the services of the Board. This will involve ensuring disabled persons have access to the services provided by the Board around the country in an easy and timely manner.

    The Board has a very good relationship with disabled persons dating back to May 2017 when it provided legal assistance in a matter involving the deaf and dumb. The Board got the Sierra Leone Police not to press charges against three members of the deaf and dumb who were being investigated for allegedly violating the ban on street trading on Sundays and assaulting a police officer.

    ‘The Board also made a case for the recruitment of a sign language interpreter Fatu Kanata into the police,’ the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles said.

    Disabled persons are among vulnerable groups who qualify for legal aid without any precondition. This means their socio-economic status is not a bar for qualification for legal aid. Others include the aged, children, war amputee and war widows.

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