Amin Kef-Ranger: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 February 2021:
The Judiciary of Sierra Leone, in a statement released last week, said that eight hundred and seventy cases were reviewed by the Courts, in an exercise aimed at decongesting the prisons during the nationwide Judicial Week which ended on 4th February 2022,
Four hundred and twenty-three cases were from the provinces and the four hundred and forty-seven were reviewed in the Western Area.
It said that the ‘Access to Justice through Judicial Week’ was a huge success, with 26 Judges deployed across the country.
Three hundred and seventy-four inmates were granted bail to secure their release – two hundred and fifty nine in the provinces, one hundred and fifteen in the Western Area.
“It should be noted that the initial number of incarcerated inmates was one thousand and thirteen (1,013). The number later increased to one thousand one hundred and seventy-five (1,175) inmates. Out of this number (1,175), the total number of prolonged adjournments was one hundred and thirty-four (134) and ninety-three (93) were completed.
“There were a total of one hundred and four (104) Summary Review cases of which one hundred and one (101) was completed. Out of a total of one hundred and three (103) of the habeas corpus application, seventy-eight (78) without Indictments were completed and the remaining twenty-five (25) were referred to the Law Officers Department. A total of two hundred and thirty-four (234) nationwide were discharged,” the statement reads.
Should never have been the case of those accused of comitting crimes, should spend lengthy amounts of times on remand waiting to put their cases through the test in our judicial process to know whether they are guilty of a crime or innocent. Some spent years in Pademba Road and Mafanta correction facilities not knowing why they are there in the first place. If you want to know a country’s human performance index, Judge its on how it treats its most valuable in society. Prisons and prisoners are your first port of call. That tells you everything you need to know about that country.Today as its stands, Sierra Leone is one of the worst places on planet earth to find yourself locked up. What this access to justice week exircise have clearly demonstrated is that the idea that we are all equal before the laws of Sierra Leone as established and written in our constitution is a fools errands. There is one law for the poor and wretched and one law for the rich and powerful, and plenty of connections with this spineless Bio government.
The laws of judicial gravity says for every action there is bound to be a reaction. As in the case of this panic reaction ordered by the Honourable Chief Justice of Sierra Leone Desmond Babatunde Edwards after the pardon gate scandals, that engulfed the one directionless government of Bio, that goes to the very heart of Bio’s ineptitude at State House and showed there is something fundamentally wrong about how our justice system works. It became clear like day light, just like every thing this government does, something is rotten to the core. As the public reacted to this abuse of power by the then Attorney General and Minister of justice, Yeiwoh Brewah disgraceful behaviour over the pardoning of Mr Baimba Moiforay Commonly known as LAC and his sidekick Foday Kamara, for the murder of DJ Sydney Buckle, Bio realised he is in hot waters.
This time the public felt they seen enough of his reckless behaviour. and clearly at the behest of Bio he ordered a course correction and ordered the judiciary through our chief justice to conduct a review of prisoners cases up and down the country , guilty or not, so it will act as a cover for Bio so he can claimed all the credits both for Sierra Leoneans public consumption and our international partners.Mind you majority of Sierra Leoneans have a short memory span.Our International partners are the one constituents that continues to bankroll his government that Bio can’t afford to ignore. So , this prisoners would never have seen a court room never mind walks free if Bio hadn’t pardoned two convicted murders that shine a torch in the murky dealings of the ministry of justice.