Plea to President Bio – fountain of honour and justice and guardian of the constitution  

Leon Jenkins-Johnston: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 July 2024:

Like so many concerned citizens, I am in shock, dismay and disbelief to learn that our Parliamentarians in their wisdom a few days ago passed into Law the Criminal Procedure Act 2024, removing the right to JURY TRIAL.

I am also shocked to learn that when the law was drafted it included the right to JURY TRIAL but this was subsequently removed by our parliamentarians (I cannot verify this).

The Act itself is very progressive in so many ways and it represents years of hard work by a number of individuals.

The Removal of Jury Trial is DANGEROUS and is an attempt to take away the inherent, fundamental and invaluable right of every citizen guaranteed by the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 Act no 6 as set out in Section 23 subsection 1 thereof.

Blackstone’s in his Commentaries III at page 379 had this to say: “Trial by Jury ever has been and I trust will be looked upon as the glory of The English Law…. It is the most transcendent privilege which any subject can enjoy, or wish for, that he cannot be affected either in his property, his liberty, or his person, but by the unanimous consent of twelve of his neighbours and equals.”

This brings memories of Part V of the 1965 Public Order Act in relation to Defamatory and Seditious Libel which has now thankfully has been removed from our Law Books as an act which will go down as a major democratic manifesto-implemented win for your Excellency’s government.

The Public Order Act was used by successive governments to stifle, restrain and bully their opponents and many citizens lost their lives as a result of that REPUGNANT legislation.

We remind our Parliamentarians of Proverbs 26:27 and of the late Robert Nesta Marley in his all-time classic ‘SMALL AXE’ when he said this: “And whosoever diggeth a Pit shall Bury in it”.

Your Excellency we plead with you not to give your assent to this Act of Parliament and to send it back to the Parliamentarians to have a rethink.

I submit your Excellency that it will be the right and correct thing to do as the Fountain of Honour and Guardian of our Constitution.

Please protect and defend your Legacy and do not allow this piece of legislation to destroy your democratic credentials for years to come.

I thank your Excellency in advance for being a listening President.

About the author

Leon  Jenkins-Johnston Esq, Former Ombudsman of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

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