Sierra Leone Telegraph court correspondent: 13 June 2020:
It was a sight to behold at the Freetown magistrate court No.1 yesterday, when popular Sierra Leone female presidential aspirant and leading Journalist Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, lectured the country’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General Dr. Priscilla Schwartz (Photo above), on key aspects of the Laws of Criminal Libel.
Blyden, is representing herself against seven counts of criminal libel brought by the state through the consent of the Attorney General.
Four of the seven counts are about publications allegedly done by the female presidential aspirant against the current President, Julius Maada Bio.
It was on one of those four counts that Dr. Blyden lectured the country’s Attorney General on the Law. “Had it been anyone else, outright sacking of Priscilla Schwartz should have occurred before the end of today,” lawyers who witnessed the way Dr. Blyden phenomenally exposed the legal incompetence of Attorney General Priscilla (Photo below) commented.
Addressing the magistrate, this is what Dr. Blyden said in court yesterday, :
“My lady Magistrate, section 34 of the public Order Act of 1965 is what the Attorney – General says is her authority for giving consent for me to be prosecuted under section 33 of the said Act. In her own words, with her personal signature signed by herself, Dr. Priscilla Schwartz wrote that she is “satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a prosecution” of Sylvia Olayinka Blyden “under section 33.”
“Now, the same section 34 from which she takes her authority to prosecute me, also says “No prosecution for an offence under section 33, shall be begun except within 6 months after the offense is committed”. But here is the Attorney General sending a state lawyer to help prosecute me under section 33 for an alleged crime committed 21 months ago in October 2018. Twenty one months ago my Lady.
“My Lady, the particulars of offence for count 7 of the information charge sheet defies logic, defies the established Law of the land and should be thrown out. The Attorney General misadvised herself into consenting to the prosecution of a legally defective criminal charge that is tautology,” Blyden concluded.
At this point, the Attorney General’s officer in court, said he will not argue that the charge is legally defective. He said that instead – Dr. Blyden was “too late” to protest and should have protested on the first day.
To this point, Dr. Blyden Quoted section 105 and 112 of the criminal procedure Act of Sierra Leone to buttress that she can point out a defective charge “at any stage of the court proceedings”. But the magistrate refused to give Dr. Blyden a second chance to continue her argument.
The magistrate said that the issue brought to her attention against the Attorney general was so serious that she was going to stop the court case, withdraw the file from the court and do research on the matter. She then adjourned the matter until another five days to June 17th 2020 for a ruling.
Earlier, Dr. Blyden forced the lead police investigator to confess that although the President – Julius Maada Bio, is presented in four of the seven counts as the victim of libel, the police never took a statement from the President to ascertain if he did consider himself as a complainant.
Dr. Blyden (Photo) then asked the police to confess that they merely guessed the President has been libeled against but the police has no evidence to prove the President has been offended. At this point, the police officer refused to answer that Question. “Don’t answer that question! Don’t answer it!! – the magistrate told the police.
The police has also confirmed under cross – examination that they drove the inhabitants of Dr. Blyden’s residence away from her compound and took full possession of her entire compound from the day they kidnapped her on May 1st 2020 until May 15th 2020. The police identified the formal handing over Note which they did of Dr. Blyden’s house on 15th May 2020.
So it is now in evidence that since May 1st 2020 on to May 15th 2020, the only people who had been in 24hours full possession of Dr. Blyden’s residence was the Sierra Leone police.
According to the police witness, they took over the compound for 15days in order to “protect and safeguard the contents of Dr. Blyden’s house, after we took her away from the house on May 1st 2020.”
“The implications of this open confession of the Sierra Leone Police are enormous” said Lawyer Kamara, a barrister in Sierra Leone.
Many people who have studied all the charges against Dr. Sylvia Blyden say the government will be doing itself a big favour if it dropped all the charges.
“Priscilla Schwartz is not well grounded in the Laws of Sierra Leone. President Bio needs to act fast now,” Mr. Moses Kallon said in court yesterday.
People are saying there is no justice, no freedom of speech in Sierra Leone, is that true?
Hahahaha…didn’t I explicitly say on this noble Forum, that these SLPP dummies are in for a hard, disgraceful tutoring? Well, a Stargazer sees the end of things even in their little beginnings; Astronomers we are and mystics, that diligently study the universe and objects within it; we gaze at the stars, intently to understand the nature of man and the eventual outcome of critical events. My advice to the Criminal SLPP Cabal is for them to walk or run away quickly, before it becomes too late – abject, public humiliation awaits them, if they stubbornly insist on proceeding, with their idiotic, brainless mindless charade…Bravo!
Brave unicorn, that gallops, like the medieval war horses of 5 star Generals – Give them hell Madam, until all is well! Eat them mercilessly alive, chew and spit these dullards out, for the world to see what these SLPP basket of deplorables really look like. Run SLPP run, before it becomes to o late!Words to the wise!
Free her now.
Speaking as a layman, in law to be a constitutional layer is a whole profession and it requires years to graduate from college. For Sylvia Blyden, trying to prove that she is the smartest woman on planet earth who knows everything from politics, journalism, medicine and now the entire constitution of Sierra Leone, is very ludicrous and prosecutors and defence teams in any judicial process always have their high or low moments just like in sports. The APC party has the perception that the first woman to serve as Attorney General is unqualified and are trying all their best politically to discredit President Bio, for appointing her to that highest office. With time, they will respect the president’s decision and also respect one of the most honest and powerful women in the history of our nation and the APC MUST learn to live with that reality possibly for the next 8 years.
Finally, there are many ways Slyvia Blyden can declare her candidacy for the office of the President rather than inciting violence through the social media, by collaborating with some APC party destructive propaganda machine living in the diaspora or fabricating stories with the intention of creating chaos in our country. Let her first focus on defeating Samura Kamara 2 years from now, instead of distracting the people of Sierra Leone from the current fight against the coronavirus. So far, I hope she is having a wonderful time in Pademba Road Prison by using a flush toilet as compared to Paolo Conteh and I learnt that she is now treated as a celebrity and hopefully she will be the next beauty queen in the upcoming beauty contest this year.
The level of stupidity within this administration is becoming alarming. However when a group of deprived and arrogant individuals are twisted by dishonest intellectuals, the outcome would be primitive loyalty.
Bio and his gangsters should try to give peace a chance in our beloved country and leave Sylvia and others out of his mess, and think of his little days on hands to run his office. Nothing good he got to show off besides running behind oppositions.
Oh. It is very SAD to be surrounded by a bunch of broke and bankrupt traditional doctors or herbalists. Frankly speaking, the way and manner some of our so-called PhD holders perform, leads people like me wondering, how they got their PhDs in the first place. See how indomitable Dr Sylvia Blyden was, as a lawyer in her own case, forcing the other side of the matter to rubbish the interpretation of the laws of Sierra Leone. Can you imagine? Disgusting and Disgraceful. What a good day for Dr Sylvia Blyden and a disastrous and awful day for “My Lady” and the “Attorney General.” God bless Dr Sylvia Blyden. Bottom line, she will be released unconditionally. Have to.
I doubt it and I am confused of the irrelevance when I am watching this woman of all the name, Dr. Sylvia crying behind bar and none of the APC party leadership members have come to her rescue up till now. This is an example how frightening these guys are and trust me sooner or later, the egg basket will burst and all secrets will come out. The APC party leadership never produced even a single lawyer to defend her. What does this tell you? She is not recognizable and not important in the APC party at all. I guess most of her supporters are just making noises, instead of going out and making some fund raising, let the public and whole world come to understand how decisive you are.
Are you actually bragging with a disgraced Dr. Sylvia? That is why the scholars said “earning wisdom is better earning degrees or professions” This woman Dr. Sylvia Blyden would not succeed with this kind of attitude, blessing better than some degrees. She is not even recognized in the APC party, they do not know her folks. Our current Attorney general is most intelligent – we have had no doubt. She was appointed because of her qualification. Talking about Paolo Conteh, the former defense minister and a trained qualified lawyer who had to know better, was a crime committed? Of course, the picture is right there on the internet, so you be the judge.
Did F.M. Minah carry a pistol to the State House when he got convicted and found guilty and hanged to death under his party APC regime? The answer is no. Paolo Conteh was ready to revenge on the same similar date, April 29 2020 but thanks to Almighty God, that it was a failed coup. Questioning a hard working PhD well educated Attorney general, you think you are only making fun of her? I was with some of my colleagues last night and a very strong APC die hard friend said “she’s a betrayer” Of course no matter what, she will be released as the whole world has witnessed her as a violator; that is disgraceful.
If we can look at the time of 1965 when these libel laws were enacted and executed into the judiciary system of Mama Salone, the ratio of the police force, investigating the total population when compared them and now in the 21st century, we can see the bottleneck the judiciary system is facing, when we listen to the wise commentary of the Public Relations Officer of the Justice system in Mama Salone.
And if we can research the various cases since 1965 when these criminal libel laws were passed, until now the 6 months duration for the prosecution of such CASES, were not considered, but the trials still proceeded and judgements were finally executed by the justice system of Mama Salone
This is an other shameful episode in the history of our justice system. The idea that the person responsible for interpreting the laws of the land, do not have a deep knowledge of the law they are supposed to uphold, is scary. The Attorney General and minister of justice Dr Priscilla Schwartz, and her persecution team, seemed to be presiding over a case they knew little about how to go about doing it. One mistake, you will say is an oversight. Twice in a week, when you think of Paolo Conteh’s case, it is damn right incompetent on the part of the state. It’s like her team have walked into the court room holding the law of the land upside down.
And it is left to the accused Dr Sylvia Blyden, to point it out to them. Surely the state had enough time to prepare this case, given the amount of time Dr. Sylvia Bylden spent in custody. If these exchanges are anything to go by, this case is not going to be a walk in the park. It is not a sprint but a marathon. I only hope she can be released and be a presidential candidate for the next round of elections. I believe, given her knowledge and understanding, she will make a great leader. Coming from the Krio, the only unifying language in our country, at least for the first time in the history of our country, we will bury our tribal differences and concentrate on the real issues on how to develop our country and maintain peace.
Absolutely, some of us acting as ignorant instead they are completely arrogant. Dr. Sylvia lectures the Attorney general on the law of the country? Well in my opinion brother, Dr. Sylvia is not a smart woman, if I were to advise her, I would tell her to be silent. Did she earn her profession to become a disgraced person? Is Dr. Sylvia the one that is challenging the government on behalf of the entire APC? Well let us sit down. If Sylvia thinks she understands the law of the land than anyone else, her former boss and secret partner never let her down in that position; she got fired as well. Why did that happen in the first place? Let me say this to you, the fall of Dr. Sylvia will come from herself and some of her arrogant supporters.
Who said that she was an aspirant presidential candidate? Does she qualify to run for president? Ask the APC party leadership, I do not know why Kamara Samura was chosen and she was dumped in a trash can.
The whole legal process looks like a put up job.
Another shellacking and incompetence exposure of our so-called learned PHD holders/professors at the helm of affairs in our nation. Gradually, the chicken are coming home to roost.
Free Blyden, period.