Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 June 2020:
Sierra Leone’s social media rumour mill went into overdrive three days ago, when a post was circulated by an unknown author alleging that the country’s Chief Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards “tries to interfere with Palo Treason trial Jurors”. (Photo above: Chief Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards).
But a statement has been issued by the media and public relations department of the Judiciary, denying the allegation and describing it as “a calculated ploy to run a campaign of calumny and to reduce public trust and confidence in the judiciary”.
Published as a breaking news story, the post alleging that the Chief Justice tried to interfere with the Palo treason trial case, reads:
“The Chief Justice of the Republic, Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards in the morning of 8th June 2020, just before the Jurors were summoned to Court made a surprise visit to their deliberation room.
“Report reaching us indicates that the Chief Justice is concerned about the lack of evidence against Palo Conteh and the poor performance exhibited by state prosecutor in the ongoing Palo Treason trial. He admonished the jurors that they should return a guilty verdict against Palo and others to save the blushes of the President.
“He said “if whona acquit Palo, whona go embarrass the president. Wetin whona for do is follow the direction of the judge. The judge go gee whona direction for convict Palo. After that President go pardon Palo en dat go gee President more status as a man wey want peace. President tell me say e nor go kill Palo if whona convict am. So whona nor fraid for return a guilty verdict.
“This is not the first time The Chief Justice has been accused of ‘Nobbling with officers of the Court’. He tries to influence each and every case that attracts interest from the ruling government. A Senior Supreme Court Judge notes that Chief Justice Babatunde Edwards is the most political Chief Justice that has darkened the walls and corridors of the Temple of Justice at Siaka Stevens Streets.”
This is a statement issued by the media and public relations department of the Judiciary in response: