Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 January 2022:
Sierra Leone’s Chief Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards has called on all Magistrates across the country not to be static but to do better in the effective and efficient administration of justice.
“It’s a new year and I want the wheels of justice to be running smoothly, effectively and efficiently,” the Chief Justice urged Magistrates, adding that, “I want new things aimed at making significant progress in giving justice to the people.”
In his first meeting with Magistrates in 2022, the Chief Justice admonished all Magistrates to know that their discretion is within the law, whilst cautioning them to desist from discharging their duties outside the prescribed laws.
Addressing the issue of committals, the Chief Justice noted that the time between transfer of cases from the Magistrates’ Courts to the High Court is too long, which amounts to unnecessary waste of time and delay in the completion of cases.
Chief Justice Edwards also encouraged Magistrates to be diligent in handling committals and depositions, as their decisions are being tested by summary reviews.
He implored all Magistrates to consider themselves as people trained to be Judges someday, to know the Act on sentencing in respect of specific offences, to be compliant to the directive on monthly returns, cross-check and double check bail documents and to deal with recalcitrant Court Registrars within the law.
“You should be men of honesty, integrity and stout character in protecting the Courts,” the Chief Justice stressed, urging them to help in protecting the integrity of the courts which will enhance the smooth administration of Justice in the country