Young man sentenced to death amid debate to abolish death penalty in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 May 2021:

Sierra Leone’s High Court Resident Judge in the Kailahun District of the country – Justice Francis Banks-Kamara, on Friday 7th May 2021, sentenced a young man – Kholie Tamba to death by hanging, after he was found guilty of murder.

The accused first appeared before Justice Banks-Kamara for the offence on 8th February 2021; and after three months of trial, judgment was delivered last Friday, with the jury unanimously returning a guilty verdict on one count indictment of murder.

According to the particulars of offence, the accused Tamba Kholie, on a date unknown in September 2018 in Nyadehum Mabarbu in Luawa Chiefdom, Kailahun District, is said to have murdered one Amara Koroma.

The case was prosecuted by State Counsel Daniel Mansaray, while Patrick Kamara Esq from the Legal Aid Board defended the accused.

Addressing the jurors, Justice Banks-Kamara said they should be able to understand the elements constituting murder. He described the act of the accused as “barbaric and does not resonate with 21st century civilized reasoning.”

According to the Judge, the act of the accused contravenes a cardinal Provision in the Sierra Leone Constitution, Chapter 3 of Act No. 6 of 1991.

He went on to say that the act of Murder is unforgivable, adding that the judgment will serve as a deterrent to others who are hell-bent on derailing the peace in society.

Based on the ‘guilty verdict’ returned by the jurors, Justice Francis Banks-Kamara sentenced Tamba Kholie to death by hanging.

While thanking members of the jury for sacrificing their precious time, the Judge assured that the cliche of ‘Justice delayed is Justice denied’ has no place in Kailahun.

He said the vision of the Chief Justice – Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards is to provide expeditious trials and to take justice closer to the people which he is committed to achieving.

But as the debate about whether the death penalty should be abolished in Sierra Leone continues, there are calls for the president to declare a moratorium on State hanging until a national consensus can be reached.

In the meantime, the Sierra Leone Telegraph is calling on the government to take concerted action to educate young people about violence and the perpetration of murder which many believe is fuelled by drugs, alcohol, poor mental health, and lack of moral compass.

Questions are also being asked as to why citizens that commit murder are being sentenced to death, but police officers who are committing most of the murders in the country on behalf of rogue politicians are never brought to justice.


  1. The death penalty is one of the most emotive issues in the criminal penal code. For countries who have it in their penal code, it only means two things. Firstly, there is always a divided opinions,split some times into two. In those countries, the supporters of the death penalty, will always argue, if a man is charged with an offence with murder,and the evidence exists, and the case went on trial, and the state prosecution can proof beyond reasonable doubt that the individual is guilty as chrage, after presenting it to a selected jury, then that individual should suffer the same fate.Death. On the other hand, opponents of the death penalty, argued, how ever heinous the crime may be, murderers should be sent to a prison colony. And in some cases, regardless of the time, and age they committed the crime of murder, they should be given a whole life tariff. I support this second part of the argument. But someone else will argue, what about the victims family? Where is the justice for them, and the murdered individual.? Totally agreed with that argument as well.

    The victims family deserved justice as well. But it depends on how you decide what is the best way to render justice to someone who killed a family member, or friend? To me, what I call justice, is the one served slowly, or in slowly motion. That is to make sure that person or persons, that committed such heinous crimes, sit in a cell room for the rest of their lives regetting their actions. Life should mean life. The idea of saying you found Jesus whilst you found yourself locked up in those four walls, will not cut the mustard with me. In my opinion, the only sure way they can come out of that correction facility, is in a coffin or box. But sending them to the gallows, will just hasten their punishment.To be honest, spending the rest of your life in Pademba road prison, or Mafanta one of the most feard prison in the North, is not like you are spending the rest of your life in a five star hotel.

    Also anti death penalty advocates have argued, and not without valid reason, or reasons, sometimes some one will be found guilty of a murder by a jury, and put to death by the state, only for revisit of the case file, and DNA profiling exonerating them of murder, whilst the real murderer is walking away scoth – free. I am not for once suggesting that is the case in the one highlighted in this article above. I wonder if murder investigating teams in Sierra Leone, have the luxury of DNA laboratory to thoroughly investigate cases like this one. We all know Sierra Leone justice system is corrupt, and skewed against the poor, and unemployed youths. A lot of this youngsters were children during the RUF wars. Some of them saw, or were forced to participate unimaginable atrocities, some times against their family members, or total strangers, that just happened to be your fellow Sierra-leoneans. Murders, and criminal like burglaries involving guns is a common occurrence in Sierra Leone. As far as I can recall, Sierra-leone wasn’t like that before the RUF wars. It was only after the war, we had the rape epidemic, killing of young women and girls, and armed robberies. The problem is our elected leaders like the new propaganda minister of Bio, the right Hon. Habib Munda want us to belive, his government under Bio, is addressing this issues, but the realities of every day life in Sierra Leone is different. We all know whats going on. Every Sierra-leoneans, has a family, and friends.Unlike this minister, we don’t live in lala, lala land. And the stories we share,and the stories some of Bio’s ministers, and his fanatical supporters propagate, makes you want to question your sanity. Who do you trust to tell you the truth, since they are living it under Bio. A Bio propaganda minister in the form of Hon. Habib Munda, living in Alice in wonder land, or your family members, and friends?

    • Dear Forumites. For the avoidance of doubt and misunderstanding, Habib Munda is not a government minister, nor a sitting member of parliament. He was once a member of parliament a few years ago, and now owns a farm in the south of the country where he is growing rice. Thank you.

  2. I sincerely hope the British High Commission office will be paying close attention to the unanimous guilty verdict on one count of murder by the jury. This emphasizes my point that many people believe that the Death Penalty is
    a deterrent to murder: Now let us listen again to what Justice Francis Banks Kamara had to say: “He went on to say murder is unforgivable” Well, that’s where we disagree; It is not. But he continued by adding: “The judgement will serve as a DETERRENT to others who are hell-bent in derailing the peace in our society.” Now this is the point where I agree with him. The crime of murder can be forgiven by the families of the victims or through a Presidential pardon in most countries across the globe.

    Such a strange utterance coming from the Judge sends a clear signal that he already had fixed ideas and beliefs influencing his sense of judgment. Its not all over and done with yet; In most countries that enforce the Death Penalty, Lawyers for accused persons found guilty of murder and sentenced to death can reorganize their efforts and pursue a direct appeal from the highest court in the land. Strange is it not? A Stargazer thats also a young cub totally supports the Death Penalty? Yup, but something that is seasoned with Mercy and Forgiveness. (lol) Young people need to wake the hell up and get their acts together. There is so much you can offer our beloved Sierra Leone…WORD.

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