Police Media 1 Throws Light on the Roles of Police in Executing Evictions

By Amin Kef Sesay

According to the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Brima Kamara, who happens to be the Head of Media, Public Relations, and Sports for the Sierra Leone Police Force, popularly known as Media 1, it has almost become a   in Sierra Leone that each time people are evicted from a particular property, they would blame the Police and most times even accused the Police to have physically evicted them from a property.

He said there is no denying the fact that some of these accusations levied on the Police are borne out of ignorance – people simply do not know the processes involved.

Seeing the Police at the scene, Media 1 said,  gives them conviction that it was the Police that forcefully evicted them from the property.

“We also have others in society, who, in spite of the fact that they are familiar with the Court’s processes, they still find pleasure in castigating the Police and accuse them wrongly,” he told The Calabash during an exclusive interview.

He furthered that amidst such a confused state as to whether it was the Police who evicted or not; coupled with the fact that there were recent evictions and more in the offing, he saw the need as the one who is always confronted with the issues, to consult his lecture notes on “Sierra Leone Legal System” and do the needful by shedding some light on the subject matter.

Media 1 intimated how he would like to dilate on the Sheriff’s Office and  the processes of the court, especially those that are pertinent to the topic.

In terms of the Sheriff’s Office he said it is provided for by Section 2 of the Sheriff’s Act Cap 10 of the Laws of Sierra Leone 1960. According to him, the Inspector General of Police is the Sheriff of the High Court of Sierra Leone and his Regional Commanders in the provinces are his deputies in the respective regions.

He explained that the judicial officer heading the Sheriff’s Office in the Courts is called the Undersheriff, assisted by Bailiff Superintendents, Senior Bailiffs and Bailiffs.

Media 1 furthered that the principal role of these personnel is the enforcement of mainly civil judgments, orders, and rulings of the Courts continuing how they exert the coercive mandate of the Courts, through execution processes issuing from the Master’s office, in enforcement of court orders and judgments.

He continued that by Order 10 Rule 1(a) of the High Court Rules 2007, they are also the official process servers of all originating processes, pleadings, orders, warrants, and all other processes, documents, or written communications of the court.

With regards Processes of the Courts he explained that there are three types of processes often issued by a court: processes commencing actions in courts; those in aid of proceedings in court; and those authorizing execution of judgments and orders of courts.

He told this medium that a plethora of processes exist by which judgments and orders of courts in civil proceedings can be enforced.

Naming some he mentioned the Writ of Fieri Facias (hereinafter called “a fifa”) – This, he said , deals with the enforcement of a judgment for the payment of money not being paid into court – issuance of a fifa.

It is issued by the Master and Registrar (M&A) and executed by the Undersheriff, he said adding that the process authorizes baliffs, to enter forcibly, if need be, into premises of a judgment debtor and seized his property therein, sell them, to recover the judgment debt due and owing to the judgment creditor and pay over the proceeds to the judgment debtor (Order 46 Rule 1(a) of the High Court Rules 2007.

The other he touched on is the Writ of Possession which he said is a judgment for giving up of land and shall be executed by a process called a writ of possession, issuing from the Master’s office, with the leave of the court that gave the judgment.

According to him such mandates the bailiffs of the Undersheriff’s office, to enter forcefully and evict the judgment debtor from and surrender vacant possession of the property in issue, to the successful litigant (Order 46 Rule 3 subrule 1(a).

Explaining the Writ of Delivery, Media 1 said it is a judgment or Order for the delivery of goods and  can by Order 46 Rule 4 subrule 1(a) of the said Rules, be executed by a writ of delivery, also issuing from the M&R and enforced by the Undersheriff.

It mandates bailiffs to forcibly seize the goods in issue and deliver them to the judgment creditor.

Dilating on the Writ of Assistance, the senior Police Officer, pointed out that it is an auxiliary process to the principal execution process. He said it is the writ that mandates the Police to assist bailiffs in the execution of judgments and orders, by providing security cover.

Giving an example, in the recovery of land, he said  the Police will do a threat assessment and based on their findings, would advise the Undersheriff whether to proceed with the execution or not.

The Police, he revealed,  will only partake in the execution exercise, if there is a writ of assistance from the court, mandating them to provide security.

Based on what he said it is worthy of note that in one application, a judgment creditor can ask for more than one execution process. Again proffering an example, he said on a judgment for the recovery of premises that also award the successful litigants immense profit or arrears of rent and cost, the judgment creditor can apply for writ of possession for the recovery of the premises, writ of fifa for profit or arrears and cost and writ of assistance for Police assistance.

When granted, he continued, the Master will issue a three in one writ of execution.

He concluded by saying that his explanation is not exhaustive but expressed the  hope that  it would go a long way to enlighten the public about some of the processes of the Courts,  and most importantly, understanding the role of the Police when it comes to Writ of Possession.


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