Dr Sylvia Blyden awaits justice as State prosecutors fail to turn up in court

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 July 2020:

Despite all efforts by the government and Chief Justice to reform Sierra Leone’s court system to reduce the time it takes for justice to be delivered, it seems old bad habits are taking much longer to die, as thousands of people up and down the country – including opposition politician – Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, wait hopelessly because State prosecutors fail to turn up in court.

The frustrating, and unjust daily grind of turning up for a hearing, only to be told that the court sitting has been adjourned because a judge, magistrate or State prosecutors did not turn up, caught up once again with Dr Blyden yesterday, when she arrived at the court buildings in Freetown to attend both her Magistrate and High Court trials.

Dr Blyden is faced with the rather bizarre, and what many would refer to as ‘punitive justice’, where she has been charged for the same offence of insulting the president and other charges in both the magistrate and High Courts of Sierra Leone respectively.

The use of administrative and judicial high-handedness to punish those with whom the government disagrees, by delaying, frustrating, and exerting psychological pressure on them is nothing new. It is an old trick used by successive governments for political aims.

Dr Blyden has been charged with ten counts of seditious libel, cyber-crimes, perverting the cause of justice, etc., most of which the government is finding very difficult to provide evidence to safely satisfy conviction. Hence, Blyden is now subjected to a series of court adjournments, after spending over 50 days in prison without charge, following her arrest three months ago.

But Dr. Blyden is taking it all in her strides. A true sense of character. As a politician gunning for the presidency, some would say that she is being prepared by fate for the highest office in the land which in Africa, comes with a lot of personal sacrifices and pain, from which many lessons of leadership and good governance are learnt.

Writing to her supporters and fans on social media yesterday, she was very philosophical about it all. She said: “Good evening from my veranda overlooking the Atlantic Ocean estuary at Cockle Bay. I am just returning from hospital where I went for my follow-up treatment in the capable hands of our darling healthcare workers who always spoil and pamper me when they see me. Thanks colleagues. The way you pampered me today just made my day – as always.

“Meanwhile, the court case this morning at the High Court did not hold. Similarly, the one at the Magistrate Court also did not hold this afternoon. In both courts, no lawyer appeared for the State. So both matters have been adjourned.

“Today also, for the first time since I was charged to court, there was no sign of the over 200 well-armed, anti-riot police who used to be deployed all over the entire Magistrate Court and around all streets in the vicinity whenever I was going to appear.

“It was a pleasant surprise to enter the magistrate courts area today and not see any sign of armed men with guns deployed all over as if……..I believe it shall be well. Keep smiling everyone – smile, even from behind your masks. God bless Sierra Leone.”

With a new Attorney General now in office in Sierra leone, many in the country are hoping that the government will wipe the slate clean, turn to a new beginning and discharge all opposition politicians, that are standing trial for various alleged offences, including Dr Blyden.

President Bio needs to end political tension in the country, and return to active and meaningful engagement through dialogue with opposition politicians and their parties, especially as the current uncertainty unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic becomes even more pronounced.

6 Comments

  1. “President Bio needs to end political tension in the country, and return to active and meaningful engagement through dialogue with opposition politicians and their parties, especially as the current uncertainty unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic becomes even more pronounced.” This statement, whenever made, forces me to wonder if President Bio is a Babysitter-in-chief with the duty to babysit a petulant and peevish child called APC. This is the nonsense that President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah had to put up with. The ultra-violent APC would attack each other in the North and come crying to Pa Kabbah that they have been attacked by SLPP youth. Well, President Bio is not Pa Kabbah.

    Bio has no time for the errant nonsense coming from a useless political party with a compulsive dimension for chaos and anarchy. President Bio summoned Bintumani 3 last year for the purpose of establishing an effective line of communication among all political parties. Bio believed that when political parties communicate with each other on issues of import to the nation, the basis for national cohesion is created. The only APC member that attended Bintumani 3 was Alhaji Alpha Kanu. The rest of the party membership stayed away as they were counting on Bio to give them a special attention. Tough luck. Bio is busy uplifting Sierra Leone in governance and in international affairs.

    The positive attention that Sierra Leone continues to receive is the outcome of Bio’s competence in governance. If APC wants Bio’s attention, they must eschew violence and display maturity in opposition. The party must also rein in its thugs, especially the chief thug called Samuel Samsumana. The only thing that Samsumana has ever brought to the Kono people is violence. But you cannot impress your bosses in your feckless party by unleashing violence on your people. It is wrong, it is barbaric and it is counterproductive to development.

  2. This government is hands down the worst in the history of Sierra leone;they simply do not have the skills,maturity and intellectual stamina to pull and hold things firmly together in one piece.And in our beloved Sierra Leone where rats,cats and dogs have always been sworn enemies,where sly foxes and dubious politicians are one and the same,getting things done is as difficult a task as digging for diamonds in the scorching sun.

    A strange place, our country is where things are always in constant reverse, in fragmented pieces ready to fall apart; A master-craftsman that shrewdly understands how to build bridges and solid sustainable foundations for enhancing peace and progress is what our country urgently needs right now.

    We need to dismantle the Judiciary and all the other vital institutions in our country and build them again purposefully from scratch.This criminal SLPP government knows fully well their case against Dr Blyden is a flimsy one,a substanceless case as empty and useless as their shockingly incompetent,tribalistic brainless unthinking heads.(lol)

  3. How can they show up when they have little or no evidence. The whole world saw the reckless failure of justice under the watch of the present Fountain of Honor and Justice, President Bio in the case of the gallant Rtd Major Paolo Conteh the great. Certainly, it’s frustrating for Iron Lady Dr Sylvia Blyden. But we pray that the almighty God deliver her from hands and claws of a dictators den. May the almighty God bless, help and protect Dr Sylvia Blyden. Amen and Amen. Father God.

  4. The POAPA regime which came into power in a razor thin ballot victory seem to be doing everything to turn off independent voters who will for the most part be the key decider in the next election cycle. As it stands, the regime have done everything politically possible to alienate APC supporters, including those who might have considered cross-carpeting due to some frustration with the APC leadership hierarchy. The political intimidation, bullying, and suppression of citizens basic freedom of expression, has only succeeded in citizens harbouring disgust towards the core of the SLPP mantra of governance. Despite the touting of PHD holders, with many purported to have lived a considerable amount of their lives in the west, the manner of their behavior and in extension their policies, can only be associated with a stone age mentality.

    Like some of the diasporas who went home to participate in EBK’s regime and later became part of the thieving cabal, the current crop of diasporas whom the Bio regime have called home to partake in his government are no different. A case in point are the 3 musketeer—professors – Francis (chief minister), professor Kelfala (Bank governor), and professor Priscilla (recently fire AG); have all spent considerable amount of time in the diaspora. However, since their appointment in highly influencer position, instead of emulating or championing democratic governance they have enjoyed in their host countries for decades, they chose to go back to stone age mentality and tyrannical policies. The ironical aspect is that, these folks are supposed to be educators, they migrated to western nations, acquired the best education in the world in some instances, and were accorded the privilege to lecture in their respective host countries.

    At the very minimum, Sierra Leoneans were expecting these highly educated individuals to serve as role models, parting their western education and civilized behavior knowledge to our younger generation. However, the opposite is what we are experiencing today. The chief minister who has a PHD in peace and conflict resolution is seemingly overseeing a continuous spate of political violence and intimidation, the former AG Priscilla, who has a PHD in law, was overseeing a rampant of injustices and lawlessness. The bank governor who has a PHD in economics is overseeing a stagnated economy hounded by a rapidly depreciating national currency. So, clearly, we have yet to see any meaningful or signs of any positive or new direction as far the current regime is concerned. By all indications, we are either stagnated or moving towards the negative direction.

  5. Based on reality, most courts around the world are still closed because of the coronavirus pandemic . I believe that the main reason why the president during his speech to the nation after the Pademba Rd. Prison riot, the riots in Tombo and Lunsar was because of the ongoing Treason trial when Sylvia Blyden was using her political influence through the social media to collaborating with the “ serial mammy Cusser” from the APC to incite violence around the country. The security forces that were present around the Law Court was mainly connected with the Treason trial and since it’s over everything is back to normal.

    Finally, let’s hope and pray that President Bio will soon make a statement about the reopening of the courts and the National Stadium for sporting events. Everyone have to take a deep breath and relax during this pandemic, because sooner or later justice will prevail for some of the APC culprits that were charged for the murder of a journalist during the 2018 presidential elections campaign or for criminal libel which is still part of our law although controversial just like the death penalty in the USA.

    Unless parliament abolish that law, it is still the law of the land and should be respected. The end of political tension is the decision for the APC to accept the reality that they lost the 2018 presidential election. Taking a loaded gun to the statehouse or inciting violence through the social media was not done by the New Direction government which major focus now is to continue winning the war against corruption, illiteracy, poverty, lawlessness and hopefully the coronavirus.

  6. Justice delayed is justice denied. Sometimes you really have to wonder which era Sierra Leone as a country, both politically and institutionally is living. The justice system has become so politically corrupted, tainted with lies, and polarised over the years, it is difficult to reconcile your mind with what’s happening with the judiciary at the era of the space station. More like we are living the era of Witchcraft all over again. Or the dark ages where the law of the jungle reins supreme. If our justice system was a toddler, by the time of independence, it reached its tantrums teen years under the old president Stevens, APC government.

    Unfortunately for the parents, the poor people of Sierra Leone, it never grew to adulthood. To some extent we are caught up in this web of unholy alliance between politics and judiciary. Effectively, the judiciary shed all its pretence of being independent, and have abandoned its duty to interpret the laws of the land without fear or favour. I hope the new justice minister institutes some reforms. This is a clear example of dereliction of duty of the highest order. ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE in the army is punishable with a court martial charge. Why in the world the people that are responsible for interpreting the laws of the land are so callous with the law?

    Anyone, who thinks investors will flood our country, knowing how our judiciary is so corrupted with politics should think again. These delays of Dr Blyden and many thousands of people languishing in jails around the country, awaiting their day in court, is the wrong message we are sending to the outside world, that our country is open for business.

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